Welcome Jade, thank you for joining us on the Arken Insights Hub and congratulations on a successful launch of The Wishing Will Foundation. We’re eager to hear more about the thinking behind it, what it’s designed to do, your role within it and how people can support the foundation moving forward.
What is The Wishing Will Foundation (TWWF) set up to do?
TWWF is designed to help reduce the amount of intestate estates by partnering with specialist solicitors to provide expertly drafted Wills, whilst also raising lots of money for the benefit of local hospices and charities that support the most vulnerable members of our community.
Who is behind TWWF? Are you responsible for different areas of the Foundation?
TWWF was founded by myself and my colleagues, Duncan Thomson and Stephen Puri, who are directors at Aston Bond Law Firm. Duncan specialises in commercial law, so he has been responsible for the general set-up of the company and its CIC structure. As CEO of Aston Bond, Stephen is also commercially aware and has creative flare, so he has been very involved with our marketing and design. I specialise in Wills & Probate, so it has been my job to ensure that the scheme works seamlessly and effectively, whilst also being heavily public-facing.
Where did the idea come from?
In short, is was one of my many late night epiphanies that usually means trouble for poor Duncan and Steve! We had all been talking about starting a charitable Will scheme since I joined Aston Bond in 2017, but we wanted to be sure that it was done right. So, last year I got to thinking about how we could benefit as many people, organisations and good causes as possible – and TWWF was born. I listened to feedback from Clients who had used schemes before and the same complaints came up time and time again: operating during just one month a year limited access, especially to the extremely poorly; the schemes tended to support huge national charities that Clients had no affiliation with; and they weren’t very transparent with how the funds were being used. So, we offer a solution to all these problems and more through TWWF.
So, a minimum of 90% of all fees is paid back to your partnered hospices and charities?
That’s right! We only spend money on essential costs like annual accountant fees. We don’t pay salaries or dividends and we don’t spend money on expensive marketing or call centres. Steve, Duncan & I decided that we would fund all our set-up costs together, as a sort-of donation to TWWF, including our hard copy materials, website & video costs.
You support local hospices, smaller charities and non-profit groups in the Thames Valley area – how do you decide which of these to specifically partner with?
The charities that we are currently partnered with were all known to us before we started TWWF. I personally volunteer each month with Citizen’s Advice Bracknell & District and we have all had Clients who have benefitted from, and been heavily involved with, the services offered by Thames Hospice and Christopher’s Smile. So we were well aware of their amazing work and decided to approach them with the concept first. We listen to what causes are important to our community and hope to partner with more smaller, local charities as the scheme continues to grow.
If no budget is spent on marketing, how do you rely on getting the word out about the importance of TWWF?
Well, we have spent money on marketing – but it doesn’t come from your donations! As mentioned, Duncan, Steve & I have covered our initial costs of marketing but this means we are limited to the extent we can personally provide. So, word of mouth is extremely important to us! We hope that our community is excited about this project as we are and that they share it with their friends, families and colleagues. The more people that know about us, the more we can reduce intestacy, raise funds for our charities and grow awareness for each of those charities.
How can people help support TWWF and spread the word?
Asides from using the scheme to write their Will, people can help support the cause by liking, commenting and sharing our pages and information on social media. We have Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to promote TWWF and partnered charity information, as well as an Instagram account that is linked to our Remembrance Wall, where members can honour the memory of those who have used the scheme. We also share information about Wills and Probate that could be helpful to those who haven’t prepared a Will or dealt with Probate before.
How do you apply to join your Panel of partnered solicitors, and Charity Panel?
If you are a Solicitor and would like to get involved then you should head to our website to check whether you meet our ‘Solicitor Standards’ – if you meet the criteria then all you need to do is contact us at email@example.com with the following information:-
- Your firm name, address and company SRA number;
- The name of the Solicitors who will take responsibility of the Scheme at your firm together with their SRA number;
- The STEP or SFE member number of the person who will take responsibility of the Scheme at your firm;
- Whether there is a limit to the number of Wills you are prepared to undertake each month; and
- A copy of your professional indemnity insurance.
If you are a hospice or smaller charity local to the Thames Valley area and would like to join our panel of partnered hospices or charities then please do get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this further. If you are a hospice or smaller charity local to any other area of England & Wales and would like to register your interest in having the scheme run in your area, then please do contact us at the same email address and we will look into partnering with Solicitors in your area.
For further details, please visit www.wishingwill.org.uk.