November was a busy month for Ascroft Whiteside as we took part in Will Aid. This is a nationwide charity event that happens every year and means a client can make a will or codicil without having to pay the usual solicitor’s fees.
How does it work?
During November you book an appointment with a solicitor taking part in the scheme. As with normal Wills, they will guide you through the type of provisions that should be included within a Will. They will explain all legal terminology and ensure you know what is happening to your loved ones and property upon your death.
Instead of paying the usual solicitor’s fees, you make a donation to Will Aid which is then split between 10 charities based both in the UK and globally. Will Aid recommend a fee of £90 including VAT for a single will and £135 including VAT for mirror wills, but as this is a recommendation you can increase or reduce your donation accordingly. The only criteria set by Will Aid is that the Will should be fairly basic, which most Wills tend to be.
Firstly, the client gets a Will and more importantly peace of mind about their loved ones and property upon death. Will Aid generates a lot of money for the 10 charities during the month, last year Ascroft Whiteside raised £1662.50 for Will Aid and have had another successful ‘Will Aid Month’ this year. Finally, we get to meet lots of new clients who we hope will return to use our services in the future.
Why are Wills important?
Even though Will Aid is over it is still important to make your own will, and we at Ascroft Whiteside can help and support you through your journey of creating one. Here are some reasons for why it is important to have a will –
• Making a Will ensures that your wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are provided for after your death.
• Dying without a Will could result in your family suffering from legal problems as well as trying to cope with the loss of a loved one.
• If you die without a Will the laws of intestacy determine who will inherit your money and property, meaning that it may not go to the person you want it to.
• A lot of married people automatically assume that their possessions would go to their partner, but this is not always the case and in some circumstances could be left with nothing.
• If you have children it is especially important to make a will so you can appoint legal guardians in the event of your death.
What do I need to know about making a Will?
• You can write your own will but it is important to get legal advice and to set up a meeting with a solicitor to take you through what you need to know, as well as making sure that your will is interpreted the way you want it to be.
• You also need to get your will formally signed and witnessed in order to make it legally valid.
• Think about who you want to make a benefactor and whether you want to give a gift to an organisation or charity.
• It is important to think about who you want to look after your estate and carry out your wishes after your death as well as what you would want to happen if the benefactor you have chosen dies before you do.
• Sometimes complexities of life make wills not as straightforward and this is when you need legal advice to help make your wishes clear.
• It is important that you keep your will safe and that the person who you want to carry out your wishes knows where it is kept.
• It is important to review your will every five years or after any major life changes such as divorce or getting married.
• If you want to make an alteration to your will, you have to do this through something called a codicil, and again this must be witnessed and signed.
• If you need to make major changes to your will you need to make a new will outlining why you have revoked the previous will in order to cancel it along with your new wishes.