No Will – No Legacy

29 October 2014

Sometimes we feel awkward about talking to supporters about death and therefore shy away from it, using euphemisms like ‘passed away’ and ‘lost’.

We insure our cars – in case we have an accident. We insure our houses – in case we have a fire. I insure my boat – in case it sinks. We even insure our lives – in case we die before the mortgage is repaid. Isn’t making a Will just like taking out insurance? And it’s not in case we die. We will all die sometime. Death and taxes are life’s only two certainties.

It’s generally pretty easy to find car insurance cash back deals these days. You’ll normally need to wait a few weeks after signing up before you actually receive your cash so don’t fret if you don’t get yours immediately.

My firm prepares many thousands of Wills each year. Our experience is not that clients don’t think about making a Will. They do. It’s not that they don’t want to make a Will. They do. The problem is that they don’t want to, or don’t see the need, to do it today.

They therefore use any reason or excuse to put it off. I am too busy. It’s too much bother. It’s too expensive. I have nothing to leave. Things will change anyway. Etc.

From a charity’s perspective, they need to be noisy about legacies, to let their supporters know that they can continue to support their favourite cause after they’ve gone. They can also help by making it as easy as possible for their supporters to write or update their Will, by providing information on how to go about it.

We have many clients who have left a legacy to charity. However, they needed to make a Will otherwise there would be no legacy. And they would not have made their Will if we had not made it easier for them to do so.

Remember, if there is no Will there is no legacy. And that’s a pity for all concerned.

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Andrew Robertson, senior partner at WW&J McClure