It’s Remember a Charity Week and our aim this year is to get everyone talking and thinking about the importance of both Wills and gifts in Wills.
We spoke with Dementia UK’s Regional Fundraising Manager, Ellen Jurczak, to find out a) why she’s so organised and b) how it feels to have a valid Will in place!
Hi Ellen, you’ve previously told me that you had your Will written at 24! What prompted you to do this?
My previous employer, Cancer Research UK, held a competition to raise awareness of Remember a Charity Week, where anyone could email in to enter and then five people would be drawn at random and given the chance to write a free Will at their local participating solicitors. I had just bought my first house a few months before and knew it was an important document to have anyway, so thought why not give it a try? And I was one of the lucky winners!
Amazing! How does it feel to be more organised than 60% of the UK adult population?
I’m really pleased it’s done and sorted. My personal situation is quite straight-forward but I always knew I wanted to put some charities that mean a lot to me in my Will, so I am glad that is now written down and I don’t have to worry about it, and that my other wishes are safely recorded.
What was the process like? Can you remember how long it took?
It was really easy. I went in for an initial meeting with the solicitor, where we went through my situation and personal assets. She then wrote up the documents and sent them to me to approve, then I went in for a final meeting to confirm everything and sign them. It took a few weeks for the documents to get done, but in terms of my time it took up very little.
What would you say to your colleagues who are thinking about making a Will but just haven’t get round to it?
Do it! Whether it’s a piece of jewellery you want to go to a relative or an important memento for a friend, everyone has an idea of what they want to happen to their things after they die, and the only way you can guarantee for that to happen is through a Will. It seems like a scary and complicated thing to do, but the solicitors who handle it do this all day every day, so they know how to make it quick, easy and understandable. Get it done, you won’t regret it.
Finally, tell us an interesting fact about Will-making?
Well, pet lovers need to know – you can’t leave property to your pet, as much as I would love for my cat Willow to continue to live in the luxury to which she is accustomed*.
This is because the probate process require that the executor submit signed receipts from all the beneficiaries. And of course, animals can’t sign anything…
*(What you can do instead is leave money in trust, for the purpose of caring for your pets.)
Find out more about Wills, gifts in Wills and the impact they can have on families facing dementia here.
How to leave a gift in your Will
A gift can be as small or big as you like – all will help us provide Admiral Nurses for everyone who needs one