Solicitors across the UK have helped raise more than £1.3 million for nine charities as part of a charity will-writing campaign.
More than 1,000 solicitor branches nationwide took part in Will Aid 2016, volunteering their time and waiving their fees to write almost 13,000 wills for people, asking only for a voluntary for a donation instead.
Peter de Vena Franks, Will Aid campaign director, said: “The staggering amount of money raised will provide vital funds to help vulnerable people and communities in the UK and around the world.
“Meanwhile, the solicitors involved have helped provide safety and security to the thousands of people who used the scheme and now have a professionally drawn up will.
“The generosity and enthusiasm of our participating solicitors has helped our campaign reach far and wide and I would like to thank them for putting in such a tremendous effort this year.”
All the donations, currently standing at £1,262,890, will be shared between nine of the UK’s best love charities - ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF and Trocaire. Some last minute donations are still to come in.
James Tarleton, Chair of Will Aid said: “We are very grateful to the solicitors and all those that used the scheme for their generous contribution.
“The nine partner charities use donations and legacies from will makers to reach people in crisis, both here in the UK and all around the world.
“As well as providing the suggested donation, many people who make their wills through Will Aid, use this opportunity to provide support to their favourite charities through a gift in their wills. These legacies make a great difference and we are very thankful for those who choose to support our work in this way.”
Will Aid scheme will run again in November 2017. People are being encouraged to sign up now via the Will Aid website to be alerted when appointments are available.
Case study: Lauren Smith, Taylor Bracewell.
Sheffield and Doncaster law firm Taylor Bracewell has raised a record-breaking sum for charity through the annual Will Aid scheme.
Lauren Smith, Head of Wills, Probate & Trusts at the firm single-handedly raised £26,365 last year whilst being seven months pregnant with her first child, Greyson. This total tops the most raised in a single Will Aid month, which asks lawyers to write wills for local people in exchange for a donation.
Their great achievement places them top of the fundraisers for Will Aid 2016 and in the top 20 fundraisers of all time.
Lauren Smith, Head of Wills, Probate & Trusts at the firm, said: “I was determined to do as much as I could to be the number one fundraising firm for 2016. After coming second last year, I had the bit between my teeth and went over and above to achieve this.
“I am so proud that the hard work has paid off and the nine great charities as well as will writers who have now secured their future will benefit.
“As a mother, I cannot stress the importance of writing a will to ensure that you are protecting what happens to your children if the worst should happen. I hope this story might inspire other solicitors to join the scheme as well as encourage parents to sign up and get their will created through Will Aid in 2017.”