By Bernie Bell
And, for that matter, why updating it matters too!
It first occurred to me to make a Will nearly 40 years ago when my brother died. He had made a cast-iron Will – he didn’t have much, but what he had, he had made sure would work in the best way possible for his widow and young daughter.
I didn’t have much either, but I realised that even something like some bits of jewellery might be worth thinking about – not valuable – but my God-daughter might like to have them. And so I decided that, though I didn’t have much money to spend on doing so, I should make a Will which would make clear what my wishes were, if I died.
I hadn’t even thought about the possibility of dying young, until my brother did so.
So, I made a Will. Then as my circumstances changed, I would change it. I got divorced, changed my Will. Re-married, changed my Will. And so on and so on.
Recently I realised that I should change a couple of things as both of my remaining sisters have now passed from this life and so I am the last of my immediate family, which could cause confusion with some of the bequests.
Also, the place where I requested to have my ‘seeing off’ do is being sold, so – that could cause confusion.
The main idea is to make everything as clear as possible, so that those left behind don’t have extra things to trouble them.
The problem is, the person who helped me to change my Will last time has left the Solicitors firm, and the people I’m dealing with now, well, they’re making it all a bit in-human, and, to be honest – confusing.
I would have thought they’d give more thought to the state of mind that folk might be in in these days, especially when facing their own mortality, but it doesn’t look like that features in the ‘How To Deal With People’ instruction book of some Solicitors!
The lady I dealt with last time was human, and understanding.
I will persevere though, as I’m in the middle of the process, and once my Will represents my wishes for when I’m gone, I’ll ‘let sleeping Wills lie’ until next time I need to change it. Then, I’ll take it elsewhere!
The main point of this ramble is to mention that it is important to make a Will, and to update your Will as your circumstances change. It does matter and is worth persevering with, even when faced with the facelessness of the legal profession!
And – I keep copies of all correspondence relating to my Will, and the changes made. Years of office work comes in handy sometimes.
Agreed. I set up my first will at least fifty years ago. Keep it and lots of other things in a file drawer that I used to label IF I DIE. A decade or two ago, I changed it to WHEN I DIE. And I use a memo–now more than 20 pages long–with all the details that my step-children need. I update that almost every year. Its formal name is Informal Writings. 🙂 It will be accepted as genuine even when I haven’t updated the will itself yet.
You’ve reminded me of what happened when my friend Julie died.
Julie had been ill, so her passing was no surprise. A couple of weeks later a card arrived from Julie, saying “If you’re reading this, I must be dead.”
At first I was gob-smacked, then realised that there could be an explanation – I contacted her sister, and, right enough, Julie had left a box with everything that needed to be dealt with in it – all that was needed for sorting out her house and possessions…..and 7 envelopes to friends to be posted when she passed, mine being one of them. I still have the card.
I planted a Bay Willow for her, which is quite big now. It’s managed to grow, even in the Orkney wind!