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This September is ‘Make a Will Month’, an annual will writing initiative organised by St. Luke’s Hospice.
Throughout the month, local solicitors have offered to lend their time and expertise for free to help people prepare and amend their Will, and instead of charging a fee, they will invite donations to the Hospice.
Event organiser Rebecca Rowley experienced first-hand the impact of a will when she lost her mum Margaret in 2017. Here, she explains why she’s passionate about encouraging people to ensure they have an up-to-date will and how the experience has made her better plan for the future.
“My mum Margaret died on the 3rd April 2017 at the age of just 61 after a long four year battle with cancer. We were all heartbroken, especially me and my little brother Josh. We were so close to Mum. I saw and spoke to her all the time and Josh still lived with her.
“On top of the overwhelming grief, all of a sudden the weight of the world was on our shoulders. We had so much to organise and to think about. Everything became a worry. What would happen next? What should we do with the house and where would Josh go? I had not long given birth to my daughter Sofia, who was just four months old when Mum died. It was such a dark time.
“What Josh and I didn’t know was that Mum did everything she could to take some of the stress away from us. She was so well organised, to the point she could tell you how much was in her bank account to the penny. She wrote everything down! But It wasn’t until she was gone I realised just how much she thought ahead.
“We knew Mum had a will but I didn’t give it any thought. There was always something else more important to worry about. As it turned out, Mum’s will helped more than we could have hoped for. It was detailed and she had thought of everything. On the reading of her will, we found out she amended it just months before she died – soon after Sofia was born.
“Not only did she leave us gifts to take some of the financial burdens away, she also organised the house, car, credit cards and savings. In the amended will, she stated that Josh could live in the house for up to two years, giving him time to find somewhere new to live. It also avoided any inevitable arguments between me and Josh over what to do which was the most important thing. After all, she knew we only had each other.
“Among the gifts she left was £5000 for Sofia, her new granddaughter. I was totally shocked and overwhelmed she’d done that.
“She also left £1000 to her best friend Donna with the stipulation this money was used to go to New York on her 50th birthday! It’s something they had always spoken about and she was adamant that Donna did the trip of their dreams, even if she wasn’t able to.
“To most people these are only little things, but to us it was like a gift from heaven, showing us how much we were loved and cared for. It took losing my Mum to realise how important planning for the future really was, especially now being a mum myself. So not long after she died I wrote my will in the peace of mind that my affairs – and Sofia – are taken care of.
“I now work at St. Luke’s Hospice, the very place my Mum was cared for, encouraging others to think about their will. It’s not as scary as you think when you remember all the good that comes from being prepared. I’m forever grateful to Mum.”
To get involved, simply book an appointment with a partnering solicitor; Palmers Solicitors (Chafford Hundred), Birkett Long Solicitors, Fisher Jones Greenwood Solicitors, Hattens Solicitors, Hurrell Solicitors, Rainer Hughes Solicitors, Hillman Legal Partnerships Ltd.
Last year, the Make a Will event raised an incredible £9000 for the Hospice.
Image: Courtesy of St Luke’s Hospice