By Rachel Lacey


During the month of March, it will be possible to get a new will written or updated by a solicitor, free of charge as part of Free Wills Month.

A properly written will is vital to ensure that your money is distributed as you would wish after your death. If you do not have a will, your money will be shared out according to the rules of intestacy, which may not suit you or your family.

It’s a good idea for everyone to have a will, but it’s particularly important if you aren’t married to your partner, have children from previous relationships, or have concerns about certain family members. You’ll also need a will if you want to leave money to charities when you die.

Free Wills Months aims to ensure that everyone has access and means to have their simple Wills written or updated for free by a solicitor to avoid any legal complications and added difficulty for family members. Based on figures stated by MoneyHelper, a simple will can cost anywhere from £144 to £240, while a complex will, possibly necessary if you’ve been divorced or have children, could set you back between £150 to £300.

According to the UK Care Guide, 1 in 3 people die without writing a will each year, leaving their possessions and assets unprotected, and ultimately causing greater distress for family members already facing a difficult time. Continued UK Care Guide research shows that over 70% of people who are 64 or younger have not yet drawn up their will, emphasising the importance and necessity of Free Wills Month each year.

Even if you have a will, it’s important to make sure it’s up to date and reflects any change of circumstances. This could include the birth of children as well as the end of a marriage or the start of a new one.

What is Free Will’s Month?

The Free Wills Month campaign sees a number of charities come together to work with solicitors to offer a free will writing service for the month. Charities that have supported Free Wills Month, include Diabetes UK, Alzheimer's Research UK, British Heart Foundation, Stroke Association, Mind, Age UK, The Salvation Army, Macmillan Cancer Support, and more.

To make the most of this service, simply register your details with Free Wills Month or the supporting charity of your choice to ensure you get a reminder when the campaign begins on March 1st 2023. The scheme typically runs twice a year: in March and again in October.

Free Wills Month is open to anyone aged 55 or over and covers the writing or updating of simple wills. A simple will works for most families, however if your needs are a bit more complicated you can still take advantage. You’ll just need to pay the additional costs yourself.

How do I apply?

Each Free Wills Month, participating solicitors will be offering free wills at selected locations across England and Scotland.

You can find out whether there are any solicitors local to you at the Free Wills Month website – it’s currently too early to apply but if you enter your name, email address and postcode the site will send you a reminder when the scheme launches.

Once you have found a solicitor that’s taking part in the scheme you are then free to contact them to make an appointment.

Appointments will be limited though and are issued on a first come, first-served basis, so it’s a good idea to get in quick.

While the campaign is intended to last the duration of the month, once all available appointments with Free Wills Month solicitors have been booked, the campaign will end and become available again for applications in October 2023.

Free Wills Month - will writing

Leaving a legacy

By taking part in Free Wills Month, you also have the opportunity to support a cause close to your heart by leaving a gift in your will to your chosen charity. The idea is that the scheme will encourage more people to remember charities when they write or update their wills. Legacies often account for as much as half of UK charities’ income.

There are several ways you can leave money to charities in your will. You can choose to leave a fixed amount, or a percentage of your wealth. Alternatively, if you’re not sure how much you’ll be able to leave, you can designate the remainder of your estate to go to charity, after all other gifts to loved ones have been made. According to Mind, the gifts you might consider leaving are: cash gifts, a residuary gift or a specific gift, such as a named object.

Residuary gifts, which is a share of your estate, can also help to reduce your inheritance tax. The Times explains that leaving at least 10% of your estate to charity when you die means that you benefit from a reduced rate of IHT.

However, there’s no requirement to include a charitable donation in your will if you use the Free Wills Month scheme. It’s worth discussing your options with your solicitor to decide the best path for your will – the contents of your will remain between you and your solicitor.

How do I save money writing a will if I’m under 55?

While the Free Wills Month campaign is only open to those aged 55 or over. There’s plenty of ways to seek financial and professional assistance when it comes to drawing up your will if you’re younger.

There is a similar annual fundraising campaign, Will Aid, that takes place in November each year, enabling people to draw up a basic will with the support of a participating solicitor without charging their typical fee.

While there is a recommended donation of between £100 - £180, depending on the type of will you have drawn up by a Will Aid solicitor, the donation is completely voluntary and only goes towards raising as much money as possible for the Will Aid charities.

The Wills Aid fundraising campaign involves nine of the UK’s leading charities, and all of the donations raised throughout the duration of the campaign are split between the nine charities equally. So while you can’t choose which individual charity will receive your donation, you can still opt to leave a legacy in your will to any specific cause.

Will Aid charities include: ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, SCIAF: Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, Sightsavers and Trócaire.

Anyone can write their will through Will Aid, as there are no age restrictions - ideal for those aged 55 and under who can’t make use of the Free Wills Month campaign this year.

Similarly, Marie Curie also offers a free will-writing service for anyone over the age of 18. Working with their partners, Farewill and Bequeathed, Marie Curie is able to offer a completely free service to those in need of affordable, legal support.

Just like with Free Wills Month and Wills Aid, there’s no obligation to leave a gift or donation to Marie Curie for the service. If you are able to support Marie Curie in the process however, even the smallest donation or gift, such as just 1% of your estate, has been known to make considerable difference in ensuring those living with terminal illnesses are always able to access the care supplied by a Marie Curie nurse.

With the cost of living crisis affecting many people's financial stability, the added cost of drawing up a will could mean those most in need are putting off the process in an attempt to manage everyday costs instead. Campaigns like Free Wills Month grants access to necessary services for the most vulnerable, who may otherwise not be able to afford it. If you’re looking for more ways to save money, our main Cost of Living Guide contains expert money-saving tips for all areas of life.