Get Practical: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

March is free will-writing month in the UK. So what better time to create or update your will.

Michael Williams
4 min readMar 22, 2024
Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

Free will-writing month occurs every March and October in the UK. Similar free will-writing schemes exist in other countries too so it’s best to check your local newspapers or search online to find out if and when a scheme operates in your part of the world. These services are offered by particular solicitors who have signed up to the scheme and many charities who likewise offer the service. These include the British Red Cross, Cancer Research UK, The Stroke Association, Oxfam, Guide Dogs, and many more. For a list of participating charities and solicitors, click here.

Is the will-writing really free?

Yes, although you or your partner need to be over the age of 55 to be eligible. You won’t be changed but you will likely be invited to donate to the charity. You can rest assured that your will has been created with the assistance of an accredited solicitor, offering you protection that many online will-writing apps and free templates cannot necessarily guarantee.

My estate is simple so why do I need a will?

Having an up-to-date will is one of the most crucial steps you can take to ensure your wishes are respected and your loved ones are provided for after you’re gone. Without one, your estate could fall into the hands of the government who may not administer your estate in the manner you’d hoped. Having a will — even a simple DIY will — is better than having no will at all.

Aren’t wills just about distributing my financial assets and property?

Partly. While many people recognize the importance of having a will, there are several often-overlooked aspects that deserve attention:

1. Digital Assets and Accounts

In today’s digital age, our lives are increasingly intertwined with online accounts, digital assets, and cryptocurrencies. It’s essential to include instructions for managing these assets in your will. This includes access to information for email accounts, social media profiles, online banking, cryptocurrency wallets, and any other digital assets of value. Without clear instructions, your loved ones may struggle to access or manage these assets, leading to potential losses or legal complications.

2. Guardianship for Dependents

While it’s common for wills to designate beneficiaries for assets and property, many people overlook the importance of specifying guardianship for minor children or dependents. If you have children or other dependents who rely on you for care, it’s crucial to appoint a guardian who will take on this responsibility in the event of your passing. Failing to do so could result in custody disputes or court-appointed guardianship arrangements that may not align with your wishes. And, don’t forget your animal companions. Like children, you will want your pets cared and provided for when you’re gone.

3. Funeral and Burial Wishes

Your will is not only a legal document for distributing assets; it’s also an opportunity to communicate your final wishes regarding your body. Many people overlook the importance of including instructions for their funeral and burial arrangements in their will. Whether you have specific preferences for cremation or burial, religious or cultural rituals, or memorial services, documenting these preferences can provide clarity and peace of mind for your loved ones during a difficult time.

4. Executor Selection and Instructions

The executor of your will plays a crucial role in carrying out your wishes and managing your estate. Yet, many individuals fail to carefully consider who they appoint as executor or provide clear instructions for their responsibilities. When selecting an executor, choose someone you trust implicitly, who is organized, responsible, and capable of handling the administrative tasks involved. Additionally, clearly outline the duties and powers of the executor in your will to prevent confusion or disputes among beneficiaries. For help, go here.

5. Regular Review and Updates

A will is not a one-time task; it requires regular review and updates to reflect changes in your life circumstances, financial situation, or legal regulations. Many people overlook the importance of revisiting their will periodically, leading to outdated or invalid documents. Set a reminder to review your will annually or whenever significant life events occur, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or changes in financial status. Updating your will ensures that it remains an accurate reflection of your wishes and provides continued protection for your loved ones.

Creating a will is a critical step in estate planning. It’s also essential to consider these often-overlooked aspects to ensure comprehensive protection for your assets, loved ones, and final wishes. By addressing these elements in your will and keeping it up-to-date, you can provide peace of mind and clarity for yourself and your family in the face of life’s uncertainties.

If you would like to know more about wills and other aspects of end-of-life planning, Before I Go Solutions and MyGoodbyes offers resources and training for anyone interested in creating their own end-of-life plans or becoming a certified End-of-Life Planning Facilitator. Learn not only how you can complete your own plan but how you can help others create theirs.

Dr Michael Williams is a certified End-of-Life Planning Facilitator. He is the Senior Facilitator and Trainer for Before I Go Solutions and MyGoodbyes, two of the leading providers of end-of-life planning training and resources.



Michael Williams

I’m a storyteller, StoryCoach, writer, accredited End-of-Life Planning Facilitator, spiritual mentor & podcast host. Oh yeah, I play ukulele.