What is WillAid?
During the month of November many solicitors across the country will draft you a will at no charge through a scheme called WillAid in return they will ask you to make a donation to charity.
This isn't forced and there's no fixed price, but £75 is suggested for a single will or £110 for a pair of wills. If you can afford it then this is a very good price, and charities benefit so do donate. Yet if you can't, pay what you can... there is NO requirement to donate.
How to book an appointment
Simply go to the WillAid website and enter your postcode to find the nearest participating solicitor. Call them up and explain you would like a will drafted as part of the Will Aid scheme and they will tell you if and when they can fit you in.
How to donate
You can donate via the WillAid site by credit/debit card or by cheque/potsal order. The money raised is shared by 9 UK charities: ActionAid, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, Help the Aged, NSPCC, Save the Children UK, Sight Savers International, SCIAF and Trocaire. You make one donation which will be split between the nine charities. Once you've donated you will be sent a receipt which you need to take with you to the solicitors to show you've made a donation.
Last time this scheme ran in 2006, users reported some problems with solicitors not holding up their end of the bargain. WillAid has said there should less problems this year but if you do have any issues you can get in touch with the campaign manager Shirley Marsland on 01460 271182 or email shirley AT willaid.org.uk (obviously replace AT with @)
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT HOW MUCH TO PAY
The whole purpose of Will Aid is to raise as much money as possible for charity and to persuade people to get around to writing a proper will, and at the suggested £75 it's actually cheap compared to what the actual fee would be.
If you cannot afford the full amount, don't blunder straight in and say "I will only donate £20 is that ok?" Some oversubscribed solicitors may take umbridge. Instead Will Aid itself suggests you phone the solicitor and explain you want to make an appointment through the Will Aid scheme without asking about the cost - tell it you'll make a donation via the WillAid website and bring the receipt. That should be fine.
Why would a solicitor do it for free?
First and foremost like many other individuals, to support charity. However, it's also a good way of encouraging people who have never been before to walk into a solicitor's office, and they may well gain new clients for other things in the long run because of it.