Tag Archives: legacy

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.

Film of the week: “Leaving a gift in our will in our daughter’s name”

Scope have been promoting the importance of legacies (gifts left by generous supporters in their wills) over the past couple of weeks. The gifts left to us make up almost a third of the money we raise each year so they’re a vital source of income for us as a charity.

We went to visit two of our pledgers, Gordon and Sheena Halcrow, to find out why they thought it was such an important thing to do.

If you’d like to find out more about leaving a gift in your will to Scope, then visit the Legacy pages on our website.

Top 10 Scope memorable legacies

After trawling though our archives, here are Scope’s top 10 most memorable legacy gifts…

10. The grand piano

A Londoner donated a baby grand piano in their will. It was later valued at £10,000. The only problem was trying to remove it from the house’s basement.

9. The paintings

An art lover left Scope a number of paintings by popular impressionists Georges Rouault and Chaim Soutine in their will. The proceeds of their sale, on the individual’s wishes, were to be split evenly between 24 charities including Scope, the British Red Cross and Help the Aged.

Such was the quality of the paintings and the fame of the artists; they were auctioned across the world in Paris, London, New York and Zurich. The paintings sold for prices ranging from £50,000 to over £1 million, with Scope being the beneficiary of just over 4% of the proceeds.

8. The land in the Bahamas

In March 2009 Scope was donated a small plot of land in the Bahamas. Valuations on the land have ranged massively – from £8,000 – £200,000. These fluctuations combined with legal difficulties in the Caribbean have meant he plot has been surprisingly difficult to sell.

7. Royalties from a radio and TV star

Scope was donated the royalties from the radio and television work of the 1950s and ‘60s radio and TV star Wilfred Pickles OBE. Pickles was a big supporter of Scope, then called the Spastics Society, and he opened the Wilfred Pickles School for Spastics at Tixover Grange, Rutland in 1955. His popular radio game show, Have a Go, stretched from 1946 – 67 and earned him national recognition. His work on the ITV sitcom, For the love of Ada, was also a popular show in the early 1970s. Scope is entitled to payments for the next 37 years.

6. Oil well shares in Canada

A Canadian gave Scope and an another charity an equal share of his estate of just over £140,000. It later emerged however the donation included a number of shares held in oil wells in Alberta, Canada.

5. Royalties from J Milton Haynes music hall-era poem, The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God

Read the poem here.

4. The school wing

Supporters that were given a tour of Scope’s Ingfield Manor school in Sussex were so impressed with the school that they donated over £50,000 for a new wing to be added, which has greatly benefitted the students.

3. The parent befriending scheme

A generous lady left £30,000 to Scope which she specifically wished to be spent in the Isle of Wight. Scope is using the money to establish a face-to-face support service for parents of disabled children on the Isle of Wight.

2. The residential centre

Jon Laverneo had cerebral palsy and lived in a Scope home most of his life. A relative left a legacy large enough to establish a residential home for disabled adults in Sunderland. A purpose-built four-person bungalow called Laverneostands as a reminder of Jon and the legacy his family left.

1. The swamp!

Scope has been left a 26-acre plot of land just outside of Macclesfield, Cheshire. Discussions were held over turning the area into a canal-side marina, and there are even plans to convert the land into a sports complex, but nothing has yet been confirmed. Estate agents described it as a “development opportunity”.

Find out more about giving a gift to Scope in your will.