Natasha Mason served 19 years in the Navy before being medically discharged in 2013. As a veteran, trainee solicitor and Help for Heroes Ambassador, Natasha is perfectly qualified to explain why it’s important to write a Will and just what a difference a legacy can make.
Q. Why is it important to write a Will?
A. Having an up to date Will in place means you can make decisions about what should happen when you die and decide who benefits from all your hard work. You can provide for those who are closest to you and appoint people you trust (your executors) to carry out your wishes.
If you die without a Will your estate passes in accordance with the intestacy rules, and you won’t have any say over what happens. The intestacy rules make no provision for unmarried couples or stepchildren, for example, so making sure your Will is done properly can really help those you leave behind.
Q. Are there any benefits to leaving a gift to charity in your Will?
A. There are lots of benefits to leaving something to charity.
Leaving a gift in your Will won’t cost you a penny now but, for many of us, it’s a chance to make a bigger contribution than we might be able to during our lifetime. It’s an opportunity to leave a final gift to charities that may have supported you and your family or been important to you during your lifetime. Lots of charities rely on legacies so they can continue their important work.
Gifts to UK registered charities are exempt from Inheritance Tax so they can reduce the tax payable on your estate. If more than 10% of your estate passes to charity, the tax rate is reduced from 40% to 36%.
Q. How has Help for Heroes helped you?
A. While I was in the Navy I suffered back and knee injuries that ended my career and will affect me for the rest of my life. I get regular physiotherapy and hydrotherapy at Help for Heroes’ recovery centre in Plymouth and I know I wouldn’t be able to work full time if it wasn’t for those treatments. When I finished my law degree, Help for Heroes also awarded me a grant to help fund my legal practice course so I could train as a solicitor.
Q. Do you think Help for Heroes’ work will be as important in 20 years’ time as it is now?
A. Definitely. Unfortunately, I can only see that there’ll be more veterans in the future who’ll need help. Help for Heroes helps veterans and serving personnel from the moment they get in touch and for as long as they need support; which could be until the day they die. But the charity doesn’t just help veterans, it also helps the families who can often suffer as well. For a family to be able to spend time together and with others who are in the same situation and who understand them is a huge benefit and one that will always be needed.
Q. What would you say to someone thinking of leaving something to Help for Heroes?
A. When preparing to write your Will, it’s important to do your research and, if you can, speak to someone who’s been supported by Help for Heroes. I’ve seen and experienced the difference that the charity’s work makes, and I can honestly say that your gift will change people’s lives.