NANCY FIELDER: Where there’s a will there’s a way to help hospice

St Luke's Hospice
St Luke's Hospice
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It is a topic that nobody likes to dwell on but thinking what will happen after you’ve gone is essential when you have young children.

Now families are being urged to help a Sheffield charity which has supported thousands of city families – at the same time as making sure they have everything in place legally.

Free Wills Month means people can get their wills written free of charge, making a donation to charity instead.

Nationally there are 10 different charities take part in the initiative and in Sheffield there are eight solicitors offering their services to help the city’s only hospice, St Luke’s.

Making a will official usually costs more than £200 but people taking part in March’s campaign are being asked to donate a minimum of £50 to their good cause.

And everyone involved with the campaign is keen to stress that it is particularly important for parents to write a will ensuring their children can be cared for as they would want.

Martin Sisson, Simpson Sissons and Brooke

Martin Sisson, Simpson Sissons and Brooke

St Luke’s Hospice Head of Fundraising Kathryn Burkitt said she was delighted that so many Sheffield solicitors had decided to join in and support the St Luke’s Will Month.

“This is a great opportunity to have your will written for a minimum donation of £50, which is a great saving when you consider that, in some circumstances, it could cost in the region of £300,” she said. “Financially it is such a bargain in these hard times.

“Even more importantly for us, all the money comes back to Sheffield’s only hospice so it really is supporting a local charity.

“We are hoping that enough people will take advantage of the scheme that it will become an annual event for us.”

PA Photo/JupiterImages Corporation.

PA Photo/JupiterImages Corporation.

Solicitor Martin Sissons, of Simpson, Sissons and Brooke, has always worked in wills and probate.

He has helped many people through tragic situations and realises just how important St Luke’s is to people across Sheffield.

“St Luke’s is sadly something that is very close to many people’s heart,” he said.

“They do great things. In more than 20 years I have never heard anything other than good things about them.

“We are a new business so haven’t got vast resources to donate to local organisations but we are conscious we are part of the community and want to be involved.”

Whether you know exactly what you want to happen after you die or you have no idea yet, writing it down helps those left behind after you’ve gone.

Martin says death is hard enough for a family to cope with, and having to work with no will makes that much worse.

“I think the first misconception is that people think if they are married everything will go to their spouse and that is not necessarily so,” he said.

“If you are not married it is even more complicated and more and more people are living together so the law doesn’t offer them any protection other than making a will.

On average people make three or four wills throughout their life, but many believe the most important decision is deciding what would happen to your children if you died while they were still young.

Martin said: “Typically most people don’t get round to making their first will until they have children. That is the time you realise you have got people who are dependant on you.

“Young couples may not think they have much to leave but the welfare of the children and who will look after them is important.

“I get a lot of couples who want to appoint guardians for their children.

“The vast majority of wills are really straightforward and most people walk out saying ‘That was easier than I thought.’

“Most people put it off and I can understand why – but at least once you have done it you can forget it.”

Your free will solicitors

Here are the South Yorkshire solicitors taking part in Free Wills Month:

Bell and Buxton Solicitors

Best Solicitors

Coates Solicitors

Irwin Mitchell

Rosalind Watchorn Solicitors

Simpson, Sissons and Brooke

Taylor & Emmet

Watson Esam