I don’t know how many times and how many ways to say it, but the importance of having a Will cannot be overstated. To put it in a simple context, please read this true and heartwarming little anecdote.
A gentleman called Barrie Greaves, aged 83, left £100 in his Will to buy the players of Norwich City Football Club a drink . He died on 28 December 2019. The football club tweeted their thanks to Barrie with a photograph of the players enjoying their beers. The news went viral with Barrie’s family hearing from football fans as far away as Spain and Latin America.
Barrie was a lifelong Norwich City Football Club fan. The team are nicknamed the Canaries with their home colours being yellow shirts with green collars and cuffs and indeed in Norwich in the early 1900s the rearing of canaries was a popular pastime. Barrie’s daughters went to matches with their Dad since they were little but in the last couple of years of his life, Barrie was too ill to go to games. He had always joked that he would leave cash for the players to have a drink on him and to thank them for all the entertainment over the years so when his daughter Sarah saw the Clause in his Will, she smiled.
This story, endearing as it is, does have a strong message. It shows just how imperative it is to put a Will in place. Making a Will allows you to decide who benefits from your estate on your death. If you die without a Will, the law will decide who inherits from your estate and this might not be in alignment with your wishes. Barrie in his Will was able to show his appreciation to his beloved football club.
Executors and beneficiaries are key. An executor is responsible for ingathering the estate of the deceased person and thereafter distributing it to the beneficiaries in terms of the Will. Because of the importance of the role of an executor it is essential you appoint someone you trust. Sometimes it is worthwhile appointing more than one executor or a substitute executor who will act in the event that the original executor cannot fulfil their role. If you die without a Will, then your family members will have to apply to court to have an executor appointed with additional expense being incurred.
Your Will can also cover funeral instructions. In Barrie’s case he expressly requested his funeral was not to take place on a match day!