It’s one of those things many of us avoid and avoid – and when it came to making his and his wife Jane’s wills, retired firefighter Rob Leeson was no different.
However, after years of putting it off, he says he jumped at the chance to make one when he saw the Charity had partnered with Bequeathed to offer a quick, easy and entirely free will-making service – which can be done completely online.
Rob, who worked for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service for 30 years, hasn’t used the Charity’s services himself, but says he’s seen many of his colleagues helped over the years. Adding to that the fact we’re there for him and his former colleagues for life, he generously decided to leave money to The Fire Fighters Charity when it came to making his will.
“I was operational for nearly all of my career,” says Rob. “I really loved life on the stations and going to jobs, you never knew what you’d be doing from one day to the next.
“I always knew about the Charity because we’d do the Car Washes and things like that. I could have used its services a few times myself, because I’ve had trouble with my knees and in recent years I’ve had cancer and a heart attack, but I just felt I wanted to be at home at the time.”
However, Rob says now that he knows the Charity is offering a blended approach to support since the pandemic, with much of it available via digital means, he’d be very interested in seeking support in the future.
“It is reassuring knowing it’s there,” he adds. “We have stayed at Jubilee House in Penrith on holiday and we met some of the firefighters that were there. They were telling us all the stories about how they were being helped. It was inspiring actually.
“I also know a few people from my station that have been for help with muscle injuries and broken legs, things like that.”
For Rob, being able to have the support of the Charity’s partner Bequeathed when making his will gave him the boost he needed to finally do it.
“We’d been meaning to make wills, me and my wife, for a few years now but you just never get round to it,” says Rob. “When Covid started, we saw in Shout! magazine about how it was impacting the Charity and your fundraising, so I set up a direct debit.
“You can’t predict when you’ll need it. It’s not just for firefighters, it’s for your families.”
“I always think The Fire Fighters Charity is primarily supported by people that have been affected by their line of work, or have worked in the service, so I wanted to help. Then when we saw the free wills service advertised, we thought, ‘let’s just do it now’. With my background, the Charity is a good place to leave money to. You and the dogs home!
“I’m just hoping it will be a while before you get it!”
Bequeathed takes you through the process of making a will online, in three simple steps. Once you’ve completed an interview to draft your will, a member of staff from one of Bequeathed’s partner legal firms will advise you on how best to go forward in a free 30-minute appointment, in person or over the phone.
Once your will is complete, the firm will help you with getting it signed and witnessed, as well as storing it for you for free.
Rob ended up doing a Zoom call with one of the Bequeathed experts for his will and says: “It’s not the normal way you’d do it, but it worked really well. It was really straight forward.
“They tell you the information you’ll need beforehand, so we’d gathered all that together, and then it was easy from there. If you’re doing it online, they’re there to help you too.
“It was a relief to have it done and knowing it’s in safe hands. I almost wish we’d done it earlier, but saying that, we wouldn’t have had this facility with The Fire Fighters Charity and Bequeathed if we had.
“I’d encourage anyone to do it. No-one likes to think about this stuff, but you do need to. Me and my wife don’t have any kids, so it was quite simple, but I know with a lot of families it can get complicated so it needs doing. It’s so simple to do.
“The last few months, I’ve seen so much content about what the Charity is doing and how it’s helping people. The Charity is changing people’s lives. If you’ve been ill or something’s gone wrong, it’s quite often you need a lot of help and it’s not always readily available.
“You can’t predict when you’ll need it. It’s not just for firefighters, it’s for your families, that’s such an amazing facility to have so it’s a shame not to support it.”
Visit www.firefighterscharity.org.uk/free-wills to find out more about making your free will online with Bequeathed.