Dying Matters stresses importance of making a Will following will-writing scam investigation

9 August 2010
Dying Matters, the 10,000 strong coalition working across England to raise awareness of dying, death and bereavement, has welcomed the latest Panorama investigation into the Will writing industry. Eve Richardson, Chief Executive of Dying Matters, has spoken out to remind the public that making a Will is vitally important.

Eve Richardson, Chief Executive of Dying Matters, said:

“Making a will isn’t difficult and it doesn’t need to be expensive – two big misconceptions which explain why more than 60 per cent of adults in the UK haven’t done it.  Crooks and cranks operating in the Will-writing industry should not put people off making one – you can write a will yourself, or more complicated ones can be drawn up by a solicitor at relatively low cost.

“Many people avoid making a Will because they don’t want to think or talk about their death.  But the two givens are birth and death and by being prepared, people can make the most of their lives as well as minimise problems and distress for their families.  Making a Will is a positive step in planning ahead , but people should talk to their families about what  they want and need in their final days,  where they want to be, their funeral plans, as well as what they want to happen afterwards with their affairs.

“There is a lot of free advice available about how to make a Will – the Dying Matters website is a great place to start, and contains links to useful resources and organisations.  Age UK nationally, and  known in some areas still as Age Concern or  Help the Aged,  and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau are very useful, and some trade unions  and pensioners organisations provide free Will writing services to members. “

Our society’s reluctance to address and plan for death is impeding our ability to get our wishes met at end of life. In research conducted earlier this year, Dying Matters found that nearly two-thirds of people (60%) have not written a will – including a quarter (25%) of over-65s.  

Tony Collinson, Senior partner in Whiteside & Knowles solicitors in Lancashire and a member of the Dying Matters Coalition, said:

“There is considerable confusion among the public about the technicalities and legalities involved in the will-writing process.  But we are all living increasingly complicated lives, and society is seeing higher rates of divorce and re-marriage, which means that it is becoming more and more important for everyone to set out what they would like to happen to their assets in death. Not making a Will can have serious and unforeseen consequences for your family and loved ones.”

“We are working with Dying Matters on user friendly guidance that will be free and available soon to help make it even easier for people making their Wills.”

Paul Cann, Chief Executive of Age UK Oxfordshire and a member of the Dying Matters Coalition said:

 “Like many local age charities Age UK Oxfordshire offers a range of information and advice services, including specific services such as will-writing and funeral plans.  We also work with established local solicitors to ensure that older people have a clear understanding of their rights and can make their wishes clear.  The national ‘Dying Matters’ coalition is crucial in encouraging us all to open up about dying: to think ahead, face the issues, and plan for a decent and dignified death.”

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