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Blog: If the worst should happen, make sure the people you love are spending time together, not with a solicitor!

Louise Swindell

By Louise Swindell
Tenovus Cancer Care Development Manager

Most of us have chosen the song we’d like at our funeral; ‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra is still top of the funeral hits, closely followed by ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ by Eva Cassidy, but few of us have decided who will inherit our home, our favourite necklace or that blanket grandma made. Most of us assume our families will decide amongst themselves, but in reality you risk your family facing high taxation on any property and family fall out over that much loved blanket.

One in ten of us haven’t even considered writing a Will and only 60% of people have written their Will. The majority of people feel they don’t have anything to leave and assume their partner will get everything and any children will split everything evenly when the time comes. More and more often, this isn’t the case, families are complicated and when we are grieving we often don’t make the decisions we thought we would.

Having met many people to talk about Wills in recent years, I’ve heard so many stories of people having to deal with very complicated situations when a loved one passes rather than spending time supporting the people they love.

One lady in West Wales told me how her friend was in her early 40’s and her partner passed away very quickly, he was in his early 50’s, leaving her with two small children and a lot of paperwork because he didn’t have a Will. The days following her partner's passing were spent trying to make sense of legal paperwork and meeting with solicitors, rather than consoling their children. This was a stress she really didn’t need, but as he hadn’t written a Will and they weren’t married it wasn’t as straight forward as everyone had hoped. Despite more of us ‘cohabiting’ (living together unmarried) now than ever before – the law doesn’t recognise this and you won’t automatically inherit. So if you live with your partner but aren’t married– you may not get anything! A Will can make sure this doesn’t happen.

Did you also know that inheritance tax can be up to 40% - that’s a huge percentage of your belongings going to the government, just because you put off writing a Will!

Many of us don’t even have ‘write a Will’ on our list until much later in life – and even when we do, it’s an expense we put off time and time again. Because let’s face it – we all have other things we’d rather spend £180 on! Clothes for the kids, Christmas and maybe even a much needed holiday!

So why not write a Will with Tenovus Cancer Care free of charge? Or even update your Will to remove the sister you no longer speak to or add those grandchildren you’ve been meaning to include for years. You can even change it to say ‘All grandchildren will receive £100 or 10%’ that way, no matter how many little ones appear in the coming years they are included. Good idea, right?

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I met one lady who had re-married years ago and when I spoke to her she realised her Will still said her ex-husband would get everything! She very quickly sorted her Will through our Free Wills Month service, now she knows it’s all sorted and it didn’t cost her anything! Phew!

It’s one of those things that isn’t often on our minds – none of us want to think about what happens when we pass on, but it’s just as important as getting the right song played!

I’ve always quite fancied Billy Joel – ‘She's Always a Woman’ at my funeral, although I’m not sure it’s the most suitable song, what do you think? I’m just about to buy a house so I do need to think about writing a Will and who it would go to if something were to happen, I wouldn’t want my family to have to sort everything. I’m also pleased that my parents have written Wills, I have three siblings and we are all very close but it would be awful to fall out over something silly like who gets to keep mum’s engagement ring! (it is lovely!)

So while you’re thinking about it and deciding which song you’d like played, you can give me a call on 029 2076 8856, or follow the link below, and we can find the closest solicitor to you and arrange the appointment.

You need to book in March but you don’t have to go straight away, you have six months to attend. You just need to be 50 of over. Or if you are making a Will with your partner one of you needs to be 50 or over. We call this a mirror Will when a couple has the same Will.

There’s also no obligation to leave Tenovus Cancer Care, or any other charity a gift but we’d love it if you do!

Don’t leave your family in a situation where they have to deal with legal paperwork when they should be popping the kettle on and getting through it together.

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If you'd like to chat to Louise, about making or updating your Will for free, give her a call on 029 2076 8856.