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Make a Will Month Blog

RUH Will Month returns for November

Our ever-popular RUH Will Month is returning in November to help the public make or update their Will at a reduced cost. You can now book your appointment to have your Will written with participating legal firms.

Ten legal firms across Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset are taking part and their fees will be donated to the Royal United Hospitals Bath’s fundraising charity, The Forever Friends Appeal. Special procedures have been put in place to ensure that clients will be in a safe environment during appointments.

RUH Will Month will run for one month only, helping people put their affairs in order by having a single standard Will written for £125 or a standard Mirror Wills or joint Wills written for £175.

Jan Witt, the Appeal’s Tribute and Legacy Manager said:

“It may come as a surprise that fewer than half of the population have an up-to-date Will, despite its importance in offering you peace of mind and security for both you and your family.

“Often having a Will written can be expensive, therefore, we’d like to urge people to take advantage of this Will writing offer at the reduced rates to ensure your savings and possessions go to the people and causes you love and care for.

“It is easy to take part in this offer, simply call any one of the participating solicitors listed on our website and make an appointment for November, quoting ‘RUH Will Month’. At the meeting the solicitor will guide you through the process and will ensure that your Will reflects your wishes.”

This is the sixth consecutive year that RUH Will Month has run with substantial funds being raised every year for various causes across the hospital such as the Dyson Cancer Centre, research programmes and specialist medical equipment.

This year funds raised by the initiative will be put towards the charity’s speech and language special appeal. The Appeal is raising £50,000 to purchase a portable machine to enhance the care given to patients who have swallowing difficulties. The equipment will enable speech and language therapists to provide an alternative bedside assessment – reducing the waiting time to attend the X-ray clinic which can sometimes take a number of weeks.

The need for the mobile equipment has become even more pressing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients who have been on a ventilator have a 30% chance of suffering from swallowing difficulties. So, having this machine will really help the Speech and Language Therapy Team to assess COVID patients, either in ITU or in other parts of the hospital.

Catherine Cawley, Clinical Specialist and Speech and Language Therapist, RUH said: “Being able to eat and drink without a second thought is something most of us take for granted. But sadly many people have problems swallowing as a result of conditions such as having a stroke, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. It is a serious issue as it can cause coughing and choking when you eat and drink, which can lead to chest infections, increased hospital admission and lengthier stays in hospital.

“Having this machine will be a game changer – we will be able to give our patients a quicker diagnosis, recommend treatment and reduce the possibility of further medical complications.”

However, participants can choose to support another campaigns or special appeal if they prefer.

Interested in having a Will written? Contact one of the participating solicitor firms as soon as possible as appointments get fully booked quickly. The full list of solicitors can be found on our website click here

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RUH Will Month raises over £30,000

Actor, writer and theatre director Simon Callow has praised the 14 solicitor firms who waived their Will writing fees and donated collectively over £30,000 to our charity.

This incredible amount was generated from participation in our RUH Will Month campaign which Simon helped launch last year.

Simon Callow said: “What a terrific result. It’s so important for all of us to have an up-to-date Will. Well done to all those solicitors who gave their services free-of-charge and to the people who signed up to RUH Will Month. The money raised will make a real difference to the care of patients across all wards and departments.”

The fourteen solicitor firms drew up professional Wills for the public at a reduced rate – £100 for a single standard Will and £150 for a standard Mirror Will or Joint Will.

Jan Witt, In Memory and Legacy Officer said: “I’m so grateful to who participated in RUH Will Month 2019. By waiving their fees and passing them on to The Forever Friends Appeal, they have provided vital funds for a number of our appeals, including the refurbishment of the Breast Unit, to which it contributed £13,200. Thank you also to those members of the public who took part to make 2019 another really successful year.”

Dr Clare Marchand, RUH Respiratory Consultant, who signed up to the scheme said: “My husband and I had been meaning to sort out our Will for a while, as we knew how important it was to do, and taking part in the RUH Will Month finally made it happen! We feel much more reassured now we have a Will and we think the RUH Will Month is a fantastic idea and would very much recommend it to others who do not have a Will or their existing one needs updating.”

RUH Will Month will return for its sixth year in September 2020. More details can be found here

We’d like to thank the following solicitor firms for taking part in our 2019 RUH Will Month scheme:

  • Bath solicitors:
    • Bath Wills, BLB, Burningham and Brown, Helen Starkie, Mowbray Woodwards, Mogers Drewett and Royds Withy King
  • Somerset solicitors:
    • Ames Kent, Harris and Harris, Mogers Drewett, Thatcher and Hallam and Wards Solicitors
  • Wiltshire solicitors:
    • Farnfields Solicitors and the Chippenham, Malmesbury and Trowbridge branches of Forrester Sylvester Mackett Solicitors
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A generous legacy helps continue vital cancer research

A recent legacy from a generous former RUH patient has provided another five years of funding for research into oesophageal cancer – one of the most common cancers in the UK, accounting for 2% of all new cancer cases .

According to Cancer Research UK, over 9,000 cases are diagnosed every year and oesophageal cancer has a particularly low survival rate of just 12%.

Dr Ben Colleypriest, Clinical Lead for Gastroenterology at the RUH has been working in collaboration with the University of Bath for the past 15 years researching oesophageal cancer.

He said:

“This generous gift bequeathed to our charity The Forever Friends Appeal will ensure that our important work will have a huge impact in continuing this vital research for another five years, funding a PHD student at the University of Bath. We are extremely humbled by this person’s kindness for choosing to support us in this way.

“We are undertaking gene research to understand why normal oesophageal cells change to Barrett’s Oesophagus, an incurable condition caused by acid reflux that is a precursor to oesophageal cancer. If we can understand the molecular cause of Barrett’s Oesophagus we can better understand how to reverse it and prevent oesophageal cancer.”

Jan Witt, In Memory and Legacy Officer, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“We are extremely grateful to the late Mr Bolton for leaving his legacy towards one of many hospital’s life-saving research projects that will help to develop new and better treatments. The Trust has an excellent reputation for its research and clinical trials that play a vital role in gathering evidence to improve treatment and care for patients in the NHS.

“For many people, choosing to support the RUH by leaving a gift in their Will is their way of giving something back to the hospital that will undoubtingly change the lives of future generations. We know that many treatments that are used every day would not be available if it wasn’t for investment from charitable gifts bequeathed to the work of the hospital.”

If you are considering supporting the RUH in this way and would like the opportunity to hear more about the research taking place at the RUH, please call Jan Witt, Legacy Officer on 01225 825819. Alternatively, to find out more about leaving a gift in your Will click here.

 

 

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Why I supported RUH Will Month

Why I give my support to RUH Will Month – by Heather Kirby, RUH patient

Whilst I was having Radiotherapy at the RUH, I became interested in the hospital’s charity, The  Forever Friends Appeal. Knowing one of their fundraising campaigns was to fund towards the building of a new pioneering Cancer Centre, I wanted to show my support.  I wanted to give something back to the RUH for all they had done for me and the marvellous care and support I have received.

I heard about their annual RUH Will Month scheme and although I had a Will, it was in serious need of updating. RUH Will Month enabled me to have my Will updated by a professional solicitor at a reduced fee, which was then donated back to the  hospital’s charity. I loved the idea as I was able to get my affairs in order and have the knowledge that I was giving back to my hospital and will help to continue providing exceptional care for its patients and their families, just like it did for me. Here’s my story:

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in January 2012. My journey started at Christmas in 2011 when I was in the bath and felt a lump in my breasts.   I visited my doctor the very next day who immediately booked me an appointment for the Breast Clinic at my local hospital, the RUH.

After examinations and tests, I was told the news that it was Cancer and I was immediately put on a course of tablets to see if the tumour would shrink.  Unfortunately this did not happen and I was giving the devastating news that I had to have a full mastectomy, followed two weeks later having all my lymph nodes removed in my armpit.

After the operation, I had six sessions of Chemotherapy but I was lucky, as I fortunately didn’t have too many side effects.  However, during this treatment I felt very restless, unable to concentrate and found it extremely difficult to read, watch television or even hold a conversation with anyone for long, including my friends. A month later, I had 20 days of Radiotherapy which left me extremely weary and by session number 15, I was only able to do things in small amounts before becoming extremely exhausted.

I made a decision to accept the Cancer and put on a fight, as I could either sink or swim and no way was the Cancer taking over my life and let it defeat me.  I would ask questions and had lots of support from friends and neighbours who helped me cope.

RUH Will Month is a great opportunity to not only make or update your Will at a reduced cost by Professional Will Writers and provide you with peace of mind, but it is an opportunity to support your local hospital now and in the future.

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Simon Callow backs RUH Will Month

Actor, writer and theatre director Simon Callow is backing The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Will Month scheme. From today people can make their Will writing appointment for September with participating solicitors.

He paid a visit to the Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath earlier this year to see how the support from generous solicitor firms who with the general public has helped transform patient care through this very importance fundraising initiative.

Simon Callow said:

“It’s terribly important, for every possible reason, for all of us to have an up-to-date Will. If you haven’t got one, help is at hand as part of the Forever Friends Appeal Will writing scheme. RUH Will Month is a great opportunity to have a Will written to professional standards. It costs less and helps support your wonderful local hospital. Do take advantage of this really excellent Will writing offer.”

This year, fourteen participating solicitor firms across Bath, Bristol, North East Somerset and Wiltshire have joined the RUH Will Month scheme. They will prepare and draw up a professional Will for you at a reduced fee – £100 for a single standard Will and £150 for a standard Mirror Wills or joint Wills.

Jan Witt, In Memory & Legacy Officer, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“It may come as a surprise that fewer than half of the population have an up-to-date Will, despite its importance in offering you peace of mind and security for both you and your family.  Often having a Will written can be expensive, therefore, we’d like to urge people to take advantage of our Will writing scheme to ensure your savings, possessions and wishes are respected in the future and giving you peace of mind now.

“By taking part in RUH Will Month you are also helping to support your local hospital as the solicitors waive their fees and are instead donated to our charity. This means that you can decide where the fee is donated – whether it goes towards one of our fundraising campaigns or to a specific ward or department that you have a special connection with.”

To take part in RUH Will Month, simply call any one of the participating solicitors listed here and make an appointment quoting ‘RUH Will Month. Alternatively, for more information contact Jan Witt on 01225 825819 or email jan.witt@nhs.net

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Help with every aspect of making a Will

By Ruth Coles, Partner, Wards Solicitors

Making a Will is the only way you can be sure that your wishes will be carried out when you’re no longer alive. With a Will in place, you can be confident that your assets will go to the people you intended – without leaving them any unnecessary burdens or worries.

By taking part in the RUH Will Month scheme again this year, we are pleased to offer our professional Will writing service for a standard Will for you or standard mirror Wills for a couple and continue supporting the important work of the Royal United Hospitals, Bath in their support for all of us.

A specialist Will writing solicitor can help put plans in place to help both you and your loved ones

  • Marriage, civil partnership or divorce
    If you’re just about to tie the knot, you’ll want to make sure your assets go to your loved one. Similarly, if a relationship comes to an end, you’ll be keen to settle matters while avoiding lengthy and costly court disputes. We’ll work closely with you to develop a strategy that’s fair for you and your family, protecting your financial security – and your well-being.
  • Moving in with your partner
    When you’re starting a new relationship, the last thing you want to think about is that relationship breaking down. But the fact is, if you’re living together, neither of you is protected by the law. The ideal solution is a cohabitation agreement. As Will writing solicitors, we can also help with pre-nuptial agreements to safeguard your future interests should a relationship fail.
  • Protecting your wealth
    You want to make sure that your wealth and assets are protected for future generations following your death. When you’re making a Will, you can also maximise the value of your hard won assets through effective estate planning. We could help you achieve significant tax savings to help you manage your wealth now and in the future.
  • Other milestones
    There are, of course, other times when you may want to consider writing a Will and getting your affairs in order. From buying a house, to the birth of your children – a life-changing event such as this can make having a Will a necessity. Changes in the law and tax legislation may also mean that it’s important to make or update a Will.

As expert Will writing solicitors, we can help you protect the things you’ve worked hard for. Whether your estate is simple or complex, we can make the process of making a Will cost-effective and straightforward.

It’s human nature to put things off, but there are certain times when you’ll find it’s vital to make or update your Will. So we’re here to help, no matter what the situation demands.

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Ensuring your estate is distributed to your wishes

Why make a Will during the RUH Make a Will Month?

Harris and Harris are very proud to support The Forever Friends Appeal by participating in their RUH Will Month scheme again this September.  Below, find out how making a Will is the only way to ensure that your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes.

But simply – if you do not make a Will then Intestacy Rules will apply to your estate which means that it will be distributed according to the law and may not go to the people you intended.

It is important to note that the Intestacy Rules do not currently recognise co-habitees who are not married or in a civil partnership.  If you live with your partner and die without having made a Will, your partner will not automatically inherit your estate meaning it could pass to your surviving family.  Your partner may then have to make a claim on your estate for financial provision.

A Will is also very important if you have children as you may wish to consider appointing guardians for young children.  If you die without appointing an official guardian then you are putting then the court will need to appoint a guardian of its own choosing. This may not be the person you would chose to look after your children.

Having your Will drafted by a properly qualified professional, means you can ensure that your estate passes to those people or charities in accordance with your wishes.  A proper understanding of succession law and family matters is essential in the preparation of Wills.  When you book an appointment with Harris and Harris, we will discuss your requirements and provide you with legal advice appropriate to your needs.

By making your Will during Make a Will Month, not only do you benefit from professional advice, you are also helping your local hospital.

 

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Why I support RUH Will Month

Why I give my support to RUH Will Month – by Heather Kirby, RUH patient

Whilst I was having Radiotherapy at the RUH, I became interested in the hospital’s charity, The  Forever Friends Appeal. Knowing one of their fundraising campaigns was to fund towards the building of a new pioneering Cancer Centre, I wanted to show my support.  I wanted to give something back to the RUH for all they had done for me and the marvellous care and support I have received.

I heard about their annual RUH Will Month scheme and although I had a Will, it was in serious need of updating. RUH Will Month enabled me to have my Will updated by a professional solicitor at a reduced fee, which was then donated back to the  hospital’s charity. I loved the idea as I was able to get my affairs in order and have the knowledge that I was giving back to my hospital and will help to continue providing exceptional care for its patients and their families, just like it did for me. Here’s my story:

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in January 2012. My journey started at Christmas in 2011 when I was in the bath and felt a lump in my breasts.   I visited my doctor the very next day who immediately booked me an appointment for the Breast Clinic at my local hospital, the RUH.

After examinations and tests, I was told the news that it was Cancer and I was immediately put on a course of tablets to see if the tumour would shrink.  Unfortunately this did not happen and I was giving the devastating news that I had to have a full mastectomy, followed two weeks later having all my lymph nodes removed in my armpit.

After the operation, I had six sessions of Chemotherapy but I was lucky, as I fortunately didn’t have too many side effects.  However, during this treatment I felt very restless, unable to concentrate and found it extremely difficult to read, watch television or even hold a conversation with anyone for long, including my friends. A month later, I had 20 days of Radiotherapy which left me extremely weary and by session number 15, I was only able to do things in small amounts before becoming extremely exhausted.

I made a decision to accept the Cancer and put on a fight, as I could either sink or swim and no way was the Cancer taking over my life and let it defeat me.  I would ask questions and had lots of support from friends and neighbours who helped me cope.

RUH Will Month is a great opportunity to not only make or update your Will at a reduced cost by Professional Will Writers and provide you with peace of mind, but it is an opportunity to support your local hospital now and in the future.

Read more

Why having a Will is important

By RUH Will Month participating solicitors Burningham & Brown

Many people do delay making a Will – for some they think doing it will bring them bad luck, yet it is an important task which when done, brings you peace of mind. Once you have a Will, you know that should the worst happen, your affairs are in order and that your property and money will go where you want to it to go.

There are a number of misconceptions about Wills;

  • That only the elderly should make them – in fact it is equally important for young couples who may need (amongst other things) to appoint guardians for any minor children.
  • I don’t own any property or have a lot of money – even if this is the case in reality most of us are worth more than we think, especially if you have taken out an insurance policy, perhaps linked to a mortgage, or indeed you have an occupational pension (and you haven’t written the benefits of each in trust), either of these may pay out into your Estate.
  • We live together, and treat each other as spouses, although we have never actually married/entered into a civil partnership, and therefore all our assets will pass automatically to my surviving partner – sadly this is not true. If you die without having made a Will (referred to as dying intestate) then how your Estate is distributed will be governed by the rules of intestacy, and irrespective of how long you have lived together, your surviving partner could receive nothing at all.
  • All our assets are held in our joint names so we don’t need to bother with Wills – although it is usual for jointly held property to pass to the surviving owner on the first death, what happens on the death of the last of you?

The above are only a few examples of the misunderstandings we have encountered in practice, and do not even touch on some of more the complex situations, such as second marriages, where provision needs to be made for your new spouse whilst also protecting your children’s interests from your first marriage, what to do if you own assets overseas and ways to reduce Inheritance Tax being paid on your Estate.

Also, solicitors will recommend reviewing your Will every 3 years or so, or after any major event (such as the birth of children or grandchildren), if your financial situation has changed (such as an inheritance or a lottery win!) and therefore it is better that you have a Will in place that covers your wishes rather than relying on the rules of intestacy.

Therefore you need to decide:

  • Who benefits from your Estate;
  • What they will receive;
  • Who will actually carry out your instructions in your Will – your Executors; and
  • Who will be the guardians of your children

Once you’ve made these decisions, you can then making a Will and take part in the RUH Will Month scheme during September. As one of the participating solicitors we can offer you a reduced fee which will be donated to The Forever Friends Appeal.

We’re proudly supporting RUH Will Month, if you would like to make or update your Will with us, please contact 01225 320090 or visit: www.burninghambrown.com

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