Where there’s a will, there’s a way...

Gloucestershire Echo - - CASHING IN - MARTIN LEWIS

If you’re aged 55 or over (or in a cou­ple, one must be), then so­lic­i­tors in more than 40 lo­ca­tions in Eng­land, Wales and North­ern Ire­land will draft a will for you for free. En­ter your post­code at freewills month.org.uk and call to book an ap­point­ment with one of the par­tic­i­pat­ing so­lic­i­tors.

Char­i­ties pay for the so­lic­i­tors’ time so ex­pect to be asked to con­sider leav­ing some­thing to char­ity in your will. You don’t have to, but do if you can. Per­haps leave at least enough to cover the so­lic­i­tors’ fees – typ­i­cally £100 – £150.

Novem­ber is Will Aid. This is a big­ger scheme, right across the UK, open to any age. The web­site willaid.org.uk (or call 0300 0309 558) lets you choose a so­lic­i­tor to call and book an ap­point­ment. Re­mem­ber to say you’re call­ing as part of the Will Aid scheme.

They will ask for a do­na­tion of £95 (£150 for cou­ples) to one of nine char­i­ties in­clud­ing Ac­tion Aid, NSPCC and the Bri­tish Red Cross. You can do it on­line be­fore your ap­point­ment. Print out the re­ceipt and take it to the so­lic­i­tor. If you can’t af­ford it, you can give less. For more ways to write a will for less, see my guide at mse.me/freewills

When you die, the is­sue is dis­per­sal of your money. But if you lose your fac­ul­ties through, say, a stroke or de­men­tia, don’t as­sume rel­a­tives can ac­cess your money. A Last­ing Power of At­tor­ney (LPA) would al­low them to do that. You need to get one, now, while you have the men­tal ca­pac­ity. You nom­i­nate a trusted friend or rel­a­tive to look af­ter your af­fairs. You’re not giv­ing up con­trol now. You choose for it to come into ef­fect when you’re no longer ca­pa­ble. I’ve had one for years, and I’m 46. If you don’t have an LPA in place and you lose your fac­ul­ties, your fam­ily will need to ap­ply to take over your af­fairs via the Court of Pro­tec­tion. This can drag on for many months and cost in the £1,000s.

If you have sim­ple fi­nances, you can set an LPA up your­self by fill­ing in the on­line form. In Eng­land & Wales it’s at gov.uk and costs £82. If you’ve more com­plex af­fairs a so­lic­i­tor can do it, though it can cost over £500. There are some good halfway houses though ex­plained at mse.me/poa

■ Martin Lewis is the founder and chair of Moneysav­ing Ex­pert.com. To get his free Money Tips weekly email, go to mon­eysaving­ex­pert.com/ lat­est­tip

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