Make Provision in your Will for SASBAH …

… and help to make a difference

The Sussex Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (SASBAH) has been working as a charity for nearly half a century to help those with these conditions to live a fuller and more independent life. Over that time, we have developed a wide range of services to meet the needs of this group of disadvantaged people.

A gift to SASBAH will help not only to maintain these services, but also to enable new projects to be completed bringing greater independence to the lives of many who deserve to enjoy the privileges most of us take for granted. And it will make a lasting difference into the future.

Here are a few questions answered, and where to go for further help.

Why Make a Will?

Making a Will and making sure you keep it up-to-date is one of those things in life that really should be a priority. It gives you the chance to make sure that your wishes are carried out to look after your family, your friends and perhaps your favourite charities as well. It is a commitment to life that brings peace of mind to you and your family, knowing that your wishes are understood and will be carried out.

But besides bringing peace of mind, there are several very good reasons for making a Will. Most people who don’t make a Will presume that when they die their estate – that is their property, belongings and savings – will automatically pass to their partner or their children. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that those you want to help after your death will in fact benefit. If you die intestate – that is without a Will – your next-of-kin does not automatically inherit all of your estate, for example. The rules are very complex and in some circumstances it could be the taxman who benefits and not your family and loved ones.

Your Will protects your dependents and your estate. If you have young children and wish to appoint a particular guardian you must do so in a Will. If there is no Will, Social Services will take care of young children until a suitable relative can be located. Or perhaps you are an older person wishing to leave a specific item to a special friend as a memento. But unless you make a Will that provides for this, it will not happen.

Your Will also gives you the opportunity, after making provision for your family and friends, to consider helping those charities like SASBAH and any other important causes that you have helped throughout your life.

And making a Will, and having it professionally written, may help you to reduce the amount of inheritance tax to which your estate may be liable.

In short, without a Will, the legal system will decide the way in which whatever you leave behind is distributed. In fact the only way you can be sure that your wishes are carried out is by making a Will.

How Can I Make a Will?

A Will is a written document that must be signed by you in the presence of two witnesses, both of whom must sign it in your presence. Legally, anyone you want to benefit from your Will cannot be a witness to it.

A Will is not valid unless it complies with certain legal formalities, so although you can buy “Will forms” from some stationery firms and shops, or even make your Will over the Internet, SASBAH recommends that you always get professional legal advice. After all, your Will is a very important document that you really do need to get right.

If you’ve already got a Will and just need to make a small change to it or perhaps to leave an additional bequest, you can make what’s known as a “Codicil” which is like an attachment, but it does have to adhere to the legal formalities and be witnessed, so you will need to consult your solicitor about making amendments in this way. Any Will or Codicil can be revoked (i.e. cancelled) or changed at any time by making a new Will.

SASBAH strongly recommends that you get professional advice when making your Will. If you don’t have a solicitor already, ask someone you trust to recommend one, or simply contact SASBAH who will be pleased to put you in touch with an independent firm (see below). Solicitors who specialise in Wills will also be able to give you advice on related matters such as tax planning.

Do I need to be Rich?

No. A Will is important however much or little you have so that you can be sure your wishes are carried out, including any wishes regarding funeral arrangements. You can choose to divide your estate in various ways. Two of the most common are leaving a Residuary Legacy (a portion of what is left after other commitments, such as family and loved ones, have been met) and making a Pecuniary Legacy (stating a set amount).

SASBAH and Legacy Donations

Donations through the wishes of people who give through their Wills are a vital part of our charitable income, and help to make the future lives of all those in Sussex with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus better, more independent, and more fulfilled. We guarantee to use every penny of any donations or bequests made for the benefit of our service users. If you would like to help ensure SASBAH’s services continue and develop, please think of us when the time comes to make your Will.

Contacts and Further Help with Will-making

The best source of advice and help with will-writing is a reputable professional firm of solicitors. While there are many so-called will-writing firms advertising their services, few are staffed by qualified solicitors, and care should be taken if approaching them. If you need impartial and independent advice or help with your will-writing, SASBAH has an agreement with a local, well-respected firm of solicitors (Stephen Rimmer LLP in Eastbourne) who, as part of its service to the community, offers a free will-writing and advice service to members, families and supporters of our charity. To contact them, please visit their website (www.stephenrimmer.com) or e-mail Nick Manning (Head of Probate) at nm@stephenrimmer.com, quoting SASBAH. Alternatively, contact SASBAH’s Legacy Officer, Tony Boardman, on 07920 576312 or e-mail tony@sasbah.org.uk, who will be pleased to deal with any enquiries.

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