Write your will for free
Retiring? Moving house? Need to write a will but worried about the cost? We’ve partnered with expert will writing services so you can write your will for free.
When you do, we’d really appreciate it if you decide to remember us in your will – but you’re under no obligation to leave a gift to Shelter when using these services.
Face to face
The National Free Wills Network can put you in touch with trusted solicitors in your local area who can help you write or amend a simple will at no cost.
You can refer yourself to the National Free Wills Network by requesting a free will writing pack. The pack has details of local solicitors who you can contact to make an appointment.
Preparing to write your will
Before you write your will, you may wish to complete an asset checklist so you have a clear idea of what your estate is worth and who you’d like to benefit.
If you would like to leave a gift to Shelter, all you need is our charity number: 263710 (England and Wales) and address: 88 Old Street, London, EC1V 9HU. You can also provide your solicitor with our suggested will wording.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need a will?
Retiring? Moving house? Celebrating a new grandchild? There are so many reasons to make a will – and it’s important that you do.
Your will is a chance to make sure that your loved ones are taken care of and that your wishes are respected. It’s also the only way for you to leave a legacy to the causes and charities that you're passionate about.
How do I amend my existing will?
If you already have a will and want to make small changes – such as including a gift to Shelter – you may not need to rewrite it. You can ask your solicitor to add a codicil form, which makes amendments to your existing will.
If you’d like to make a significant change, then it might be better to write a new will. You can use our free will services for both writing a new will and amending one.
What types of gift can I leave?
If you’d like to leave Shelter a legacy gift in your will, there are a number of ways you can do it.
You could gift:
1. A share of your estate (residuary gift)
You may wish to leave Shelter all or part of what is left of your estate after other gifts and debts have been paid. This gift will not be eroded in value by inflation over the years.
Suggested will wording:
'Subject to the payment of my debts, funeral and testamentary expenses, I give (the whole/insert percentage value) of my estate not otherwise disposed of by this my Will to Shelter of 88 Old Street, London EC1V 9HU, registered charity number 263710, for the general purposes of Shelter, and I declare that the receipt of their Treasurer or other proper officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge.'
2. A sum of money (pecuniary gift)
You may wish to leave us a stated sum of money. With this gift, it’s important to remember that the value of money changes over time and you may need to alter your will periodically to keep up with inflation.
Suggested will wording:
'I give free of tax to Shelter of 88 Old Street, London EC1V 9HU, registered charity number 263710, the sum of £________ for the purposes of Shelter, and I declare that the receipt of their Treasurer or other proper officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge.'
3. A specific item of value
Some people decide to gift us specific items of value, such as works of art or property. By leaving a property to Shelter, you'll defend the right to a safe home for thousands of families. For example, a house which sells for £290,000 could help a staggering 10,000 people get advice by making a call to our emergency helpline and avoid losing their homes.
Suggested will wording:
'I give to Shelter of 88 Old Street, London, EC1V 9HU, registered charity number 263710, absolutely (write in here whatever you wish to give) for the purpose of Shelter, and I declare that the receipt of their Treasurer or other proper officers shall be a full and sufficient discharge.'
4. A reversionary gift
This gift enables you to pass your estate, or specific assets of your estate, to individuals who will benefit throughout their lifetime. Following their deaths, all or some of the estate is then passed to the beneficiaries, as specified in the reversionary legacy.
For example, property may be left to a spouse for their lifetime and then bequeathed to Shelter after their death.
Are there inheritance tax benefits?
Gifts in wills to registered charities are free of inheritance tax (IHT). So, if the value of your estate is more than the tax threshold, a gift to charity could reduce the burden of IHT. Also, if you leave 10% or more of your estate to charity, this can reduce the rate of IHT from 40% to 36% on some assets.
How do I keep my will safe?
Wills often get lost or mislaid over time, so make sure to keep yours safe. We recommend leaving a copy with your solicitor, or with someone you trust. Alternatively, you can register your will with the National Will Register, for a small fee.
Please note that all the will writing services above are provided by third-party organisations who are independent of Shelter. By participating in any of the will writing services above, you become a direct client of the will provider. To use these services, you must consent to providing Shelter with your full name, address, and date of birth whether or not you have included a gift to Shelter in your will. Shelter reserves the right to withdraw the free will services.