I'm only young, why do I need to write a Will?
Written by our member - Esther White
"Creating a Will had never quite reached my ‘To Do List’, partly as I felt that my worldly possessions weren’t that extensive and that it was just another administrative job that encroached on my time. This all changed when the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy was presented. I took it with glee as it provided a new way to look at how I wanted to live my life, where I wanted to live and what kind of work I would like to do.
As part of this, I felt I needed to get my affairs in order so my administrative list suddenly grew. I allotted time to do this during the first few weeks of my redundancy, where previously the space to address this would have been over the weekend. A time when commuting and working full time, I was protective of, as my precious weekends were given over to outdoor activities where possible rather than being inside on the computer, phone or going through papers sorting out boring but essential administrative tasks.
I decided that really I should make a will whilst sorting out house stuff, as I would like to take control and decide how my property and savings were distributed in the event of my death. I felt that leaving this to one of my family to manage and administer without guidance from me, was not fair and that I should take more responsibility thereby making the process for those who are left to administer things much clearer.
I googled ‘Making a Will’ comparing a few sites, looking at ease of access and price. I selected a well-known brand and began, which was liberating as I had finally started the process and yet it felt a little strange locating and inputting the information online. Again, I was surprised at how painless this felt as I thought it would be arduous but it wasn’t it was quite standard information – however I did feel uncomfortable about not being able to speak to someone in person as this was solely an online service. However, I wanted to go ahead with it and tick it off the ‘To Do List’. There cost was just under £60, which was OK as I thought that my will would be straight forward in terms of sharing my wealth as there weren’t any complicated property or joint savings account issues to manage.
Selecting a charity to apportion a percentage of your wealth to, came up and I instantly thought of the Pituitary Foundation. An organisation which provides such a useful resource, it certainly helped clarify elements of my pituitary condition, when reading stories by other people who have acromegaly. It was invaluable to me and my family, especially during the early stages of diagnosis and following my operation attending the annual conferences, local networks reading up on latest treatments; it remains a comforting and supportive provider of useful information and advice.
The charity number for the Pituitary Foundation was required, although it was clearly stated in the magazine I wanted to double check so that once I had completed the will, I wouldn’t have to return to it anytime soon, done, finished and off my list!
Initially I emailed the Pituitary Foundation, received a quick reply to my request for information and was also asked if I would be happy to have a quick chat. I did and Jay Sheppard (Marketing Manager) gave me a call. My age came up in conversation, as Jay explained that it was unusual to get a person who is in their 40’s to think about and put into action provision for a legacy for the foundation.
I must point out that I had a relatively successful operation 4 years ago and currently not on any medication (though may have to have monthly injections as it appears that the tumour is making itself known, ugh), I am fit and healthy and with no imminent death sentence on the horizon – that is if you take away my propensity for swimming in the sea throughout the winter months (without a wetsuit) which friends and I do on a regular basis along the Devon coast. Anyway, back to business it was really good to talk it through and recall all the good things that the foundation does to improve the lives of people with pituitary conditions meeting a need.
This extends to being able to offer members a free will service which the foundation is keen to promote, and as sensitively as possible. As I hadn’t completed the commercial online will service, as I was still collating information (needed the charity info for the Religious Society of Friends, as I am a Quaker) – Jay said I was more than welcome to use the free will service that the foundation offered. Thereby saving me some money in the process as it was FREE!
Actually, I thought why not use the money I would of spent as a gift to the Foundation and use their free will service where my legacy would be useful some many years later. A win, win situation which also made me feel good.
It all felt right to me as did my response to Jay asking if I would be willing to write and share my experience of the Pituitary Foundations ‘Free Will’ service. I was excited by this and Jay started the process by emailing Alyson Dyer, an Estate Planning Practioner for Compass Will Writers and making an introduction. From there Alyson made contact and we arranged to speak on the phone.
This made all the difference to my previous online experience, though that was helpful to know roughly what was required the personal interaction was far more helpful and somehow sets one at ease. We talked about what I wanted from my will, who would be involved and how best to approach this, what would be left to family and friends, how to divide this and percentages to the charities I had selected. She made it simple and clear, I felt reassured by this process that I was speaking to a professional will writer who could explain why information was needed and the best way to approach it. An added bonus was to find that Alyson was involved with the Foundation, as she had a pituitary condition and this was a way of her giving back to an organisation which assisted her, through her legal business. This blew me away and made me feel even more comfortable with sharing my personal information and financial matters, as her motivations for assisting were altruistic and heartfelt.
Over the weeks we emailed each other, as I filled out the forms and Alyson asked if I had considered certain aspects such giving something to executors of my will, which I hadn’t considered as they would be the administrative bodies carrying out my wishes but weren’t beneficiaries of my will. Also, how best to divide the money that I leave in terms of percentages to the beneficiaries and so that it may avoid undue confusion both now and in the future. It was so helpful to talk this through, as I hadn’t considered this or that I could have an additional executor in case those whom I selected pre-deceased me or each other.
The form completed, I returned it via email for Alyson to check. She explained that by its very nature the document contains a large amount of legal “jargon”, which unfortunately cannot be avoided. As an aid to understanding she provided a ‘Will Commentary’ and the offer to contact her directly via email or phone was reassuring to enable me to seek clarity if necessary.
Alyson’s professionalism left me in no doubt that I had made the right decision to go with the Foundations free will service, which proved much more advantageous than any that I would have found online or subsequently been prepared to pay for. I felt I could trust them to take my will forward in a reputable, reliable and professional way.
"This is why if you are a member I would urge you to make use of this excellent offer"