Sponsor Spotlight: Will Aid

In a series of Supporters in Focus pieces, we are thrilled to introduce our supporters of The British Wills and Probate Awards 2021

Alongside headline sponsor Executor Solutions we look forward to recognising achievement, highlighting progression and championing innovation.

This week we profile Will Writing Sole Practitioner of the Year sponsors, Will Aid.

We’re delighted to have Will Aid on board with the fourth year of The British Wills & Probate Awards. First of all, tell us who you are and what you do

Will Aid is a special partnership between the legal profession and nine of the UK’s best-loved charities. Every November, participating solicitors waive their fee for writing a basic Will. Instead, they invite clients to make a voluntary donation to Will Aid. Together we raise vital funds for these wonderful causes, while ensuring that people in the UK gain the reassurance of knowing they have a professionally written Will.

What have Will Aid been doing over the past 9 months since The British Wills & Probate Awards 2020?

Thanks to the generosity of our participating solicitors, we were able to run the 2020 Will Aid campaign last November. Of course it wasn’t like a ‘normal’ campaign and what with the uncertainty and constantly changing restrictions and guidelines, it really was thanks to the heroic effort of our Will Aid solicitors that Will Aid could take place at all.

Through their determination and perseverance, the campaign has raised over £620k to date in vital funds for the nine partner charities. A huge amount, and one which will help change lives for the better here in the UK, and around the world.

What do you think is the biggest challenge the sector has faced over the last 12 months?

The coronavirus has had a devastating financial impact on the third sector. With key fundraising events such as the London Marathon having to be cancelled and charity shops closing, the sector as a whole saw a significant decrease in income. At the same time, charities have seen demand for their vital services increase, which has been extremely challenging for many causes.

As well as the difficulties the sector has faced in raising funds, having to pivot plans on what often felt like a pin head, adapt to an ever-changing environment and finding new ways to promote and deliver services has been a big challenge. And something I’m sure many solicitors can relate to as well!

And what innovations were you seeing in the market?

I think one positive to come out of the turmoil we have all been through is that with so many of us being forced to adapt the way we deliver services, the market has adopted new ways of doing things and evolved quicker than it may have otherwise. This is particularly true with regards to new technologies; from the way firms have expanded how they interact with clients, to how we all work and collaborate as colleagues.

As well as these more high-tech adaptions, it was really inspiring to see solicitors adopting more low-tech solutions to keep delivering their services such as witnessing wills on car bonnets!

What are your predictions for the sector in 2022 and beyond?

The coronavirus pandemic has certainly had a huge impact on the third sector, but it has also reminded people of the value of life and the importance of family and friends. The work that charities have done over the last twelve months has been invaluable and with so many people having received charitable support during the pandemic, lots will want to give back to those initiatives.

We predict that the sector will bounce back and here at Will Aid, we’re determined to play our part and make the 2021 campaign our best yet.

Have you got any messages for the sector and our shortlisters?

I would like to commend the sector as a whole for the role that the sector has played in the pandemic. To continue to deliver services in the way it did, despite the challenges is a great achievement.

I would also like to sincerely thank all the solicitors that have taken part in Will Aid, past and present. Solicitors are the engine of Will Aid and without solicitors choosing to volunteer their time and expertise, Will Aid simply wouldn’t exist.

Last but not least, the team at Will Aid would like to wish all of this year’s finalists the very best of luck and thank the team at The British Wills & Probate Awards 2021 for offering us the opportunity to sponsor this award free of charge.

Thank you to Will Aid for their support for The British Wills & Probate Awards 2021.

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