Will Aid month

24 October 2014

IF YOU do not have a will in place, now is the time to act. Will Aid's Make a Will Month, in November, is fast approaching. This is a chance for you to make a proper, valid will, and at the same time make a difference to the lives of many people in need in the UK and around the world.

Instead of charging their usual fees for a basic will during the month of November, participating solicitors will invite will-makers to make a voluntary donation to the Will Aid charities. The suggested minimum donation is £95 for a single basic will, and £150 for a pair of mirror wills (a will that "mirrors" another, generally made by a spouse or partner, with similar and complementary terms.)

Solicitors are now booking appointments, and the advice is to book as soon as possible, as demand will be high. A full list of participating solicitors is available on the Will Aid website, or you can phone 0300 0300 013.

In 2013, the scheme raised more than £2 million, and 24,000 people made their will. The nine charities that benefit are: Christian Aid, the NSPCC, Action Aid, the British Red Cross, Save the Children, Age Concern, Sightsavers, Trocaire, and SCIAF.

Some charities put the Will Aid donations towards specific campaigns or projects. This year, the NSPCC is putting its share of the proceeds into its "Now I Know" appeal, which seeks to raise £20 million by 2016 for the ChildLine Schools Service, where specially trained volunteers talk to primary school children about abuse - how to protect themselves, and where to go for help.

In 2013, Save the Children spent the money raised helping refugees in Syria to buy food, water, and medicine.

The scheme is being supported by the C of E. Twenty dioceses are involved in a number of different ways, from making information available, and promoting the initiative through parish magazines to preaching on the importance of writing a will, and running Will Aid events in churches, where members of the congregation can talk to a solicitor. An added benefit of the scheme is that both churches and charities can end up receiving legacy gifts.

Will Aid has been running since 1988. A Scottish solicitor, Graeme Pagan, began the initiative in response to the global Live Aid concerts that were staged in 1985 to help raise money for famine-stricken Ethiopia. Since then, the scheme has ex- panded, and now includes non-development charities.



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