In 2010 I went into joint ownership of a lovely bungalow with a close friend. I was 29 and on a low wage and this seemed like the only way to get on to the property ladder. That same year I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I knew nothing about MS and was relieved to be given lots of information by my MS nurse, nearly all of which was from the MS Trust.
With the sale of the property nearing completion I had to go to the solicitors and sign the papers to make it official. While we were there, the solicitor asked us both if our wills were up to date. Wills! I hadn’t thought about doing a will. That question seemed like something so negative during what should have been a happy moment. It wasn’t something that I wanted to think about.
We spoke further about it and I started to realise how important a will is. It had never crossed my mind before what might happen to all my belongings (estate) after I am gone. The solicitor explained to me that if a person dies intestate – without a will – their estate is shared out according to pre-set rules.
It was made clear to me that if I died without a will and there were no surviving close relatives, then my half of the property would pass to the Crown. This would make it incredibly difficult for my friend who owns the other half of the bungalow to be able to take ownership of my part of the property.
We both booked appointments to go back to the solicitor to make our wills. It occurred to me that people don’t generally think about making their wills until later in life. But what if the unthinkable happened? What if something happened to you unexpectedly and you hadn’t made arrangements? The more I thought about it, the happier I was that the solicitor had brought it up and that I had an appointment.One more thing crossed my mind. What would happen to my estate if the people I’d written into my will had also died and I didn’t have any surviving close relatives? I spoke to the solicitor about this at my appointment. She explained that in this case my estate would pass to the Crown or I could nominate it to go to a charity of my choice. She also told me that I could consider leaving a gift in my will to charity – either a specific amount or a percentage of my estate.
I loved the thought of this! I didn’t have to think hard about who the charity would be. The MS Trust has helped me so much since I was diagnosed and I’m sure they will continue to help me for many years to come. That is of course if people like myself continue to support the charity by leaving gifts in their wills.
Three quarters of people in the UK regularly give to charity in their lifetimes, yet only 7% currently include a charity when writing a will
Leaving a gift in your will to the MS Trust need not be complicated; in most cases a solicitor will be able to draft a simple will from around £100. Gifts of any size are most gratefully received and you can be sure your gift will be put to good use, enabling the MS Trust to continue providing practical support to people living with MS