Free Will Month 1 - 31 March

Your community, your charity, your legacy.

Do you need to make a will or do you need to make updates to yours? If over 55, you can make a difference to many families in Somerset by making or updating your basic single or mirror will for FREE this March. If you are not over 55 but your partner is then you can still take part.

Solicitors from across Somerset have chosen to support the St Margaret's Hospice Care Free Will Month. They are all registered with the Law Society of England and Wales and are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

You will no doubt wish, first of all, to provide for those closest to you in your will. But many people also choose to support the causes that are important to them so that the impact of their will reaches even further.

Your solicitor will ask if you would like to leave a gift in your will to charity as part of your appointment. This can be any charity that is close to your heart. 

We understand this is a big personal decision, so there is not obligation to remember St Margaret's in your will or give us a donation. But by choosing to leave a gift in your will to us, you'll touch the lives of families across Somerset who need to access hospice care and support, ensuring there is somewhere for them to turn when they need it. One in three of our patients are cared for thanks to gifts in wills and your gift will help families across Somerset make every day count for years to come.

At St Margaret’s we have no legal expertise and cannot give legal advice, so we always advise that that you consult a solicitor to ensure your will is valid and covers all legal formalities.

What's next?

Step 1: Look through the list of solicitors below and decide which one you'd like to contact.

Step 2: Call the solicitor directly during March and say you would like to take part in the St Margaret's Free Will Month.

Step 3: Arrange an appointment with the solicitor - this does not have to take place in March but it must be booked in March. 

Step 4: At your appointment the solicitor will ask you questions about your wishes and what you'd like to include in your will. They will ask you if you would like to leave a gift in your will to charity.

Step 5: Your solicitor will ask if you are happy to share your contact details with St Margaret's to receive updates about our work. You can also choose to inform us if you have left a gift in your will to St Margaret's.

Step 6: If you have given us permission to contact you we will send you a thank you letter and if you have have decided to pledge a gift to us in your will we will also send you an exclusive Pledger Sunflower Pin Badge.

Our annual campaign is extremely popular and there are only a limited number of appointment so please contact your preferred solicitor as early as possible to secure yours.

Free Will Month participating solicitors

You can take up your free will by contacting one of our participating solicitors directly between 1 - 31 March 2020. 

Free Will Month list of solicitors St Margaret's Hospice Care

You can also call our Legacy Officer for a discreet and confidential conversation on 01823 346954.

Min's story

Min's story for Free Will Month at St Margaret's Hospice Care - March 2020

Min and her partner regularly like to travel and on their last trip they realised that if anything happened to them there was a chance that the people and the charities they loved would not benefit from their estate because they hadn’t written their will yet. Min had also been the executor for her Dad’s will so she recognised the importance of having one. When she heard about St Margaret’s Free Will Month she thought this was a great opportunity to have peace of mind and support a charity that is close to her heart. "I have supported St Margaret’s for a number of years and the charity was very close to my Dad’s heart so deciding to leave a gift in my will to them was a way of continuing his legacy."

Min would recommend the campaign to anyone who needs to make or update their will. "I found it really positive and useful on a number of levels. It’s useful for you because you know that it’s done. You’ve made your decisions and have cleared your mind. It’s useful for your family so that they know what your wishes are. And by giving a gift to charity it will help others too. You feel really good when you’ve done it. I wouldn’t hesitate recommending you book an appointment."

Frequently Asked Questions and Legal Terms

Without a will, the law decides how your estate is distributed, and therefore it may go to people that you never intended to benefit. Many people assume that, once they die, everything is passed to their spouse or partner - but this is not always the case.

By writing a will you can have the peace of mind of knowing that your wishes will be followed and your family and friends will be protected.

It can help minimise the amount of inheritance tax that might need to be paid on

Making a will is also a good opportunity to make a lasting difference and remember people and causes that have been important to you throughout your life. This means that you can continue to support your favourite charities like St Margaret’s Hospice Care.

Whilst you can write your own will, we recommend that you use a solicitor. Getting your wishes written down professionally will save a lot of time and money for your family and executors in the future.

If you are having your will written by a solicitor, they will guide you through this process, and suggest what you will need to consider. This is likely to include:

  • Making a list of your assets, and their estimated value. This should include any property you own, savings, stocks and shares, life insurance, and any particularly valuable possessions.
  • Make a list of families, friends or charities who you would like to benefit, and decide what you would like to give to them. This gift could be a particular item, an amount of money, or a share of your estate.
  • Think about who you would like to appoint as executors – the people or organisation who will ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death. These could be friends, family or professionals such as a solicitor.
  • If you are a parent, appoint a guardian – this is very important to ensure your children are left in the care of the person you wish.

There are several different ways that you can leave a gift in your will:

  • You can leave a specific amount of money (sometimes called a “pecuniary bequest”)
  • You can leave a proportion of your estate, once all other gifts have been paid. This can be the entire residue, or a percentage of it (sometimes called a “residuary bequest”).
  • You can leave a particular item – for example a painting, a jewellery collection.

The type of will you can have prepared or updated as part of the St Margaret's Free Will Month is a basic single or mirror will. Whether your will is classed as basic or not will depend on the work involved in preparing a document to ensure it meets all your requirements. Your solicitor will be able to let you know if everything you’d like to include in your will is classed as a basic will. If not your solicitor can let you know what this extra advice will cost and you can pay them directly for this. As long as your wishes are classed as simple by your solicitor our Free Will Month is free. 

Many people when making or updating their will chose to leave a gift to charity, by using the St Margaret’s Hospice Care's Free Will service you are under no obligation to leave us a gift in your will.

Of course we would expect you to remember your family and friends first in your will.

If the total value of your estate (i.e. all of your assets, less any debts) at death is in excess of the allowance at the time, then Inheritance Tax (or IHT) will be payable on however much that excess is. The tax is paid from the assets of your estate before any gifts are paid out, so it can reduce the value of what is being left to your beneficiaries.

The allowance (or “threshold”) before IHT needs to be paid is relatively high, and is being raised further over the next few years. You should seek advice on whether your estate may be liable for IHT – for many people, it may not be.

However, if your estate is likely to be subject to IHT, then leaving a gift to charity may help to reduce the amount of tax otherwise payable. Registered charities such as St Margaret’s Hospice Care are exempt from IHT, and any gifts to them may help to reduce (or sometimes reduce entirely) the amount of tax your estate would otherwise be liable for.

Executors will be specifically named in the will. They ensure that your wishes are correctly carried out, and sort out the administrative details of the will – selling any assets, settling any tax or other debts, and then paying any gifts to family, friends or charity. Most people appoint two executors to share the work involved - however there can be a maximum of four people named as executors to any one will. Your executors could be family, close friends or a professional such as your solicitor.

It is vital that you review your will regularly to ensure that it reflects your current wishes and circumstances. When something in your life changes, getting married or divorced, moving house, having a baby, becoming a grandparent, it’s a good time to change an existing will. Keeping your will up to date is just as important as making one in the first place, as it is the only way to ensure your wishes are followed and your estate is distributed in exactly the way you wish.

If there are several changes to be made, then the best way to amend a current will is to go and see your solicitor to make sure changes are written in properly and professionally. You may even be able to make use of our Free Will Month campaign to have these changes made. It is also possible to update your current will by adding a codicil.

A codicil is a document that need not change the rest of the content of your current will - it can simply add a new instruction. The codicil should be completed in front of two witnesses who should then both sign the form. It is recommended, to ensure the new clause ties in with your existing will that you see your solicitor about the amendment made. This codicil is then kept with your will.

Please email us for a Codicil to add a legacy to St Margaret’s Hospice to an existing, straightforward will.

In the past St Margaret’s Hospice Care have had Will Writing Weeks where instead of paying a solicitor for making or updating a will supporters could make a donation to the hospice instead. This campaign is different and there is no obligation to give us a donation now.

If you would like to know any more, please get in touch - call Kat Watts, our Legacy Officer on 01823 346954, for a discreet and confidential conversation.


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