Writing a Will. Where to start and what it means.

Family Holiday Association receives a number of legacies, or gifts in Wills, each year from generous supporters who would like their legacy to help families. Remembering a charity in your Will is a popular way to help make sure your memory lives on.

Rocky and grassy coastline, dotted with purple heather, with the sea crashing gently against the rocks. The sun sets in the distance, so there's an orange and pink hue.We are extremely grateful for these legacy donations which make up the bulk of our funding and mean we can usually support around 4000 families a year to feel the benefits of a break.

Our gifts are often accompanied by little notes, either left with a Will by the deceased, or a note from an executor who is managing the estate.

The notes reminisce about important family holidays that sparked joy and are the reason we have been chosen to benefit.  Sometimes, stories reflect on difficult times a family went through, and why time away from home was so important in helping to recover and move on.

These moments all have one thing in common – they share how important holidays are for everyone. How much they are deserved, looked forward to. How much they inspire and encourage.

These stories really resonate with us. They help us to remember the generous supporter who has very kindly chosen to think of others, whose gift leaves a legacy of memories for other families.  They keep us firmly rooted in why as a charity our mission is still so important to so many families. We’re a lifeline for so many families who would never otherwise have access to a break.

It’s a daunting task to think about Wills.

It means facing up to inevitable consequences of life. Sometimes, we do this with the benefit of having lived a long, happy fulfilling life.  Sometimes, our life has had its ups and downs. Not everything has gone as we planned. And in the saddest circumstances, we sometimes must consider our wishes much sooner than we might have wanted to, due to ill health.

Whatever brings us to the point of considering a Will, it’s our chance to express to those around us – our family, friends, loved ones – how we’d like to be remembered and to think about what is important and what matters to us.

Some of the emotions involved in writing a Will makes the task feel daunting.  So having a bit of time to prepare is important.  There are a few things you’ll want to think about, and which if you write them down, will really help those who are left behind to administer your estate and manage your wishes.  This task can be daunting, as it’s often someone you were close to, and they’ll be grieving too. Thinking carefully will help them in a difficult and often emotional task.

There are three types of gifts you could leave – to your loved ones, or a charity like Family Holiday Association. These are:

  • A percentage or share of your Estate. For example, you could leave 10%, or 1/5 of your wealth. These are residuary gifts.
  • Pecuniary gifts are lump sums, or fixed amounts of money, such as £1,000, £10 or even £10,000.
  • Items – for example antiques, jewellery or other objects of significance. These are termed as specific gifts.
Mother and son looking at the sea and pointing at a ship in the distance

Things to consider or think about

Your solicitor will give you more things to consider so they can ensure your wishes are properly respected and written so they are clear and easy to follow.  They may help you think through different scenarios too, but it’s helpful to have had some ideas before you speak to a professional.

  • Who would you like to benefit from your estate?
  • What are your assets – pension, house, savings, property, and valuables?
  • Are there family heirlooms – like objects or jewellery – which need special consideration?
  • Are there deeds or legal documents that need to go with objects or assets? Things like certificates of ownership?
  • Might you have to consider inheritance tax?
  • Who will you be leaving behind – how will you be looking after them?
  • What do you own, and what is shared in common with other people (such as a house?)
  • Who would you like to be your Executors? These can be friends or family who you trust to carry out your wishes. You could also choose a professional such as a solicitor.
  • Would you like to leave a message to explain why you have made a gift to an individual or an organisation such as a charity?

As you consider charities in your Will, think about what matters to you in life.  For many who leave a gift to Family Holiday Association, they choose us because they have supported us for a while, or because they would like their legacy to be one of joy for other families, or because some of their own happiest memories have been of family trips and days away.

We are very grateful for any gift that is left to Family Holiday Association. These gifts are vital to help us with our mission to offer families a chance to get away from home, explore and build resilience.

If you would like to know more about leaving a legacy that includes us, you can read more about the information you should include in your Will, and how to access our free Will writing services to help here.