Wills are not just about death and paperwork – they can also be a celebration of life. That’s why in Wills awareness month we’re taking the opportunity to remind you about why its so important to make a will.
For some of us, the very thought of writing a will seems momentous. Maybe the recognition that we are mortal after all. Or the thought of discussing your wishes with your partner or family just seems too big a step. And that is probably why we tend to think about writing a will at key moments in our lives. Getting married, having children or retiring – times when those big questions are on our minds anyway.
Why should I make a will?
The most important reason people give for writing a will is to ensure that their money and possessions go to the people and organisations they want them to. Alongside this, leaving a will can reduce the stress for your next of kin at a time when they may be struggling with grief. It leaves less room for arguments amongst the family. It also allows you to make the decision about who would be the guardian for your children or care for your pets, and how you would want your funeral to be.
There can also be other benefits. For some people, once these initial decisions are made, making a will provides an opportunity to make a statement about what else was important in their life by leaving a gift to a cause that is close to their heart. It’s such a simple, easy thing to do that makes such an enormous difference to thousands of UK charities, big and small, each year. In fact, over 100 people across the UK currently write a gift to charity in their will each day, raising £3 billion for charities annually.
Why are gifts in wills so important for charities?
Gifts in wills are a way for charities to raise funds for the vital support they provide to their communities. It’s especially important now when social distancing may be putting a stop to traditional forms of fundraising. And this is as true for us here at Foothold. On average, one in six of the engineers we support are funded by a gift that was left in a will. So, gifts in wills are a really important way of us raising enough money to ensure we can support successive generations of engineers who find themselves facing a difficult time in their lives, whether that be through ill-health, a bereavement or the breakdown of a relationship.
It means we can support engineers like Amir who, like so many other engineers was made redundant in May as a result of the Covid 19 restrictions. With a four-year-old at home and a new baby on the way Amir was beginning to feel pressurised financially. He contacted Foothold and with the help of funds raised through gifts in wills we were able to provide an emergency grant, giving the family some much needed breathing space until Amir could find another job. You can read more about Amir and his story here.
So how do I do it?
Taking the first step is always the hardest. But luckily there is a lot of advice online. It’s available from the Government, the Money Advice Service or Citizens Advice to name but a few. And if you’d like to talk to someone, your local solicitors will always be happy to talk through the process.
If you’re considering making a difference to a charity like Foothold by leaving a gift, there are additional benefits. One of those is helping to relive the burden of inheritance tax, which your accountant or solicitor can advise on.
So while we would be really grateful if you did decide to leave us a gift to help support future generations of engineers, the most important message we can give in Wills Awareness month is this: please, make a will.