Worried about writing your will? It’s easier than you might think

Making a will can seem like a daunting prospect. But Rachel, our Gifts in Wills Officer, found out that with our free will writing service it can be easier than you think.

Why am I writing my will? I’m not getting married or divorced, I don’t have any children and at 27, I’m not planning my retirement any time soon.

I’m writing my will because I want to know what it’s really like. Unless you’ve ever written a will, chances are you probably don’t know very much about the process. It might seem intimidating, morbid or just a bit of a hassle. Even if you’ve thought about it, it’s easy to push it down the to-do list. Is having a will that important anyway? Well, the short answer is yes. Without one, you don’t have a say in what happens to your possessions, and more importantly, what you’d like to pass on to your loved ones. Having a will puts you in control. And yet more than half of British adults haven’t made one. So is it really that difficult? I wanted to find out.

Arranging to write my will was easy. Through Scope’s free will service, I was put in contact with my local will writer, and organised to meet him near my office. I guessed I’d need to do some preparation for the meeting, and I was sent a pre-appointment check-list which explained the different areas I should be thinking about.

Writing a will does involve decision making and, depending on your circumstances, some of these decisions might involve more thought than others. But some people still put off writing a will even after they’ve made these decisions, because they think it will be complicated, expensive, or they just don’t know where to start.

Actually writing my will was the easiest bit of all. At our meeting, my will writer talked me through the main sections of the will – from appointing executors, to the specific gifts I want to leave, including to charity. I already knew I wanted to leave a gift to Scope. If I hadn’t mentioned it, I’d have been asked if I wanted to consider it – although there is no obligation. I like the idea that I can help Scope to be there for disabled people and their families in the future.

And that’s all I have to do. Once he has all the information, my will writer goes away to write up my will. I’ll check it and then sign it in front of two witnesses. I’ll have a will.

Of course, I might need to change it at some point in the future – it’s always a good idea to review your will around any major life changes. But now I know what I’m doing – I know what decisions I need to make, and I know that actually putting them down on paper isn’t difficult. It’s something I’m really glad I’ve done.

Find out more about our free will offer.

What do prized possessions mean to us?

Gifts in wills are Scope’s prized possessions – without them, much of our important work wouldn’t happen. So this week we’ve been asking people to share their most treasured items with us.

We’ve had some wonderful entries to our prized possession competition – thanks to everyone who shared theirs.

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Our shops have also been getting involved too, with a brilliant prized possessions window display from our Hexham store. You can pop into your local Scope shop this week to find out more about our free wills offer.

Hexham window display

We all have prized possessions – something special that we’d like to pass on one day. Gifts in wills are so special to Scope because they help to make sure we can continue our vital work into the future.

Find out more about why gifts in wills are our prized possessions.

Delivering the Conservative commitment to halve the disability employment gap

The Conservative Party gathered in Manchester this week for their first conference since winning a surprise majority in May’s General Election. We’re making sure they deliver on their promise to halve the disability employment gap. 

In his conference speech, the Prime Minister put social reform at the heart of the Conservative’s agenda for this Parliament. This included a focus on getting people into work, and a reference to equal opportunities for disabled people.

This narrative was also very much reflected in the conference fringe, all of which provided fertile ground for Scope to put forward it’s priority to enable more disabled people to find, stay and progress in work.

Scope was delighted to see the Conservatives commit to halving the disability employment gap, as a result of our pre-election influencing work. As well as holding meetings with a number of newly elected MPs to brief them on disability employment, and our other priorities on the extra costs of disability and social care, we held a fringe meeting with the influential think tank, the Centre for Social Justice, on how the employment gap could halved. As with our Labour conference fringe event on extra costs, the discussion was held in front of a reassuringly packed audience.

Scope’s Chief Executive, Mark Atkinson, set out the scale of the challenge in reducing the 30% gap between the employment rate of disabled people and the wider population, which has remained static for over a decade. He called on Disability Minister, Justin Tomlinson, to tie in disability employment to the Government’s wider economic reform and devolution agendas, and to take responsibility for championing disability employment across Whitehall.

In response, the Minister said that the Prime Minister’s commitment to halve the gap has opened doors for him to drive this agenda across Government. The Government’s Disability Confident campaign was aimed at employers to challenge myths about disabled employees and spread best practice on employing them. Tomlinson said he was now particularly focused on supporting small companies which account for 45% of jobs, and are struggling to recruit staff.

The Minister also said there were not enough interview opportunities at the end of the process for disabled people. In order to address this Tomlinson, and other MPs such as Chloe Smith who was in the audience, were holding local Disability Confident jobs fairs with employers.

The meeting also heard from Emma Satyamurti, an Employment Lawyer who featured in Scope’s ‘100 days, 100 stories’ campaign before the election. Emma said disability employment was one of her favourite areas of practice because there is nothing better than brokering practical solutions that work for everybody, and never hearing from them again!

She said that one of the biggest barriers to increasing the disability employment rate was clients not asking for reasonable adjustments because of a lack of awareness or because of non-disclosure of disability. Emma said that the research found that nearly 50% of disabled job applicants do not feel comfortable disclosing their disability, and that this showed that stigma is still a big problem. She said this was a political and social challenge so that people get the rights and support they are entitled to. Drawing on her personal experience, Emma said that small, one-off workplace adjustments could often make a big difference.

What next to halve the employment gap?

Emma concluded her presentation by welcoming the Government’s commitment to halve the gap, and saying she looked forward to seeing how it unfolds. Scope is very focused on shaping this process going forward.

Our recommendations on how to halve the disability employment gap are central to our submission to government ahead of its spending decisions for the next five years, which will be announced at the end of November (the Government has committed to spending £100 million on improved employment support by 2021), and our proposals to amend the Welfare Reform and Work Bill currently making its way through Parliament.

Scope has put forward amendments on reporting on progress to halve the disability employment gap in the context of full employment, reverse the Government’s proposed cuts to Employment and Support Allowance for the Work Related Activity Group and include a commitment to specialist disability employment support in the Bill.

Find out more how Scope aim to improve the employment of disabled people.