Where There's a Will There's a Way: My Legacy Gift for Alzheimers
If you don't already know my story, this very special family owned MGA Twin Cam, owned by my dad for 53 years, will ultimately be sold off with all proceeds donated to the Alzheimers Society.
My legacy mission
Dad died from Alzheimers. He was diagnosed in 2011 and 8 years later had passed away, a shell of the man he once was. The MG was always in my life and in earlier days he discussed shipping it back to the UK so he could fly over and we could attend MG Car Club events together. Those plans, along with his character and personality, were all slowly destroyed after his diagnosis.
Ultimately his long term care required the car and other precious family assets to be sold to pay for his healthcare. By that point his driving licence had been withdrawn, he didn't recognise me and he had no ability to care for himself. My stepmum went above and beyond to keep him at home for as long as she could. At the point it began to impact her mental and physical wellbeing the decision had to be taken as a family. I can never thank her enough for the sacrifices she made for my dad over very many years.
In 2016 the MG was sold from Canada into the USA. In 2018 I found it back in the UK whilst one day randomly searching on eBay for classic cars. Having bought it back I am using the car to raise awareness and funds for the charity and have become a charity ambassador - speaking at events and sharing my story.
How am I going to donate a car to charity?
Well firstly it's not the car - it's the proceeds following auction that will be donated! I am hopeful I will be around to participate in the auction action, meet the new owner and hand over the monies. Being pragmatic I MAY not be around - hence the need to ensure it is stipulated as a legacy gift in my will.
"I had found out in 2018 that charities rely on legacy giving, gifts in a will, to keep their doors open. They are by far and away the most significant proportion of donations raised."
Will? What Will?
Yes that's right. Up to that point in my life I had no requirement to have written a will. So I jumped at the chance of attending a local legacy giving event held by the Alzheimers Society to find out more. There was no pressure, it was an informative view of the charity and I found out that I could apply for a £150 voucher redeemable against legal costs associated with writing or amending a will. The follow up pack came with a list of participating local law practices and was called Will to Remember. I was not even obliged to leave a gift to the charity in return for the £150 voucher. I'm ashamed to admit the pack sat in my letter rack for the next 2 years! I put it off - perhaps aged in my 40s thinking I would get round to it soon enough.....
"It is true that most people don't like talking about death. Some of the elder generation talk about the practical arrangements they are making - with some younger family members trying to close down this talk as it is upsetting. One thing is for sure, legacy giving is commonplace and the charity or charities chosen are - as in my case - specific to me and my life. This pre-meditated decision does not replace the spontaneous support of a community fundraising initiative."
Physical vs online will writing service - you can choose!
Fast forward to February 2021 and, in the course of my work as charity ambassador, I agreed to support the charity's legacy team internally promoting their legacy awareness month. We recorded a set of interviews on my legacy story with the MG. Legacy giving does not fall into the remit of the community fundraiser teams; the charity has a specialist team focused on this.
The purpose of the awareness month was to provide knowledge of legacy giving so community fundraisers could have a high level of conversation and signpost people to find out more on making a legacy gift. I shamefully admitted to my inaction on will writing only to be told about a new legacy partnership service that had just been launched by the charity - an online will writing service: FareWill.
This was in addition to the physical Will To Remember scheme BUT sounded much better for my personal circumstances. Having to book an appointment with a solicitor and go through the physical process, visiting offices, parking and fitting it all in with my busy life - I had lined up a series of excuses over the previous two years! And, most importantly, being in lockdown that physical option wasn't available to me at that point.
Will To Remember offers a £150 voucher redeemable towards legal costs at partner solicitors. FareWill offers a FREE will writing service (usually £90) and then an annual subscription of £10 including unlimited amends and legal sign offs of these amends. Importantly the charity offers EITHER service to suit individual circumstances. And there is no obligation to give to the charity once you use either service (but why would you do that I ask.)
As a charity ambassador (and to void my prior guilt!) I volunteered to chart my journey setting up an online will using the FareWill partnership service. I committed to write my will in February with accompanying vlog and blog to help raise awareness. This complemented the interviews we had recorded to chart my legacy mission with the MG.
I will leave you to watch my vlogs for more information - save to say it was super fast and easy!
Vlog 1: My personal intro to online FareWill will writing service (6 mins)
Vlog 2: My personal summary of using FareWill (4 mins)
And to close the loop - setting my expectations of 5 working days for legal checking and approval, FareWill got back to me inside 2, ready for me to print off and have 2 witness signatures before the document's legal status is set.
I left them a 5 star review on TrustPilot for being seriously easy and intuitive to use. You can see their 4.9 out of 5.0 star feedback here from over 8000 reviews
If YOU have any questions about legacy giving with the Alzheimers Society contact the team in person here.
I get some people may prefer to use the physical service - Will To Remember. As the world is increasingly becoming digital I am totally open to these services, especially when in normal life we are so time poor. If you are a young person without a will this FareWill service costs just £10 per year with the £90 set up fee paid if you enter through the Alzheimers website. So, what's stopping you?
Live long and prosper!