Veterinary charity PDSA is looking for solicitors to help it provide free wills to its supporters nationwide, in the hope they will leave a gift to the charity in their will.
PDSA will pay participating solicitors a fee to write a simple or mirror will. The charity said clients may then choose to leave some money to PDSA, but this is not compulsory.
According to the charity, two-thirds of the two million treatments it gives every year are funded by gifts in wills, making it one of the UK’s largest beneficiaries from legacies.
Ruth Lister (pictured), PDSA’s legacy development manager, said: ‘Legacies make up a vital part of PDSA’s funding. When we piloted our free wills offer we had a fantastic response from animal lovers who choose to leave a gift to us.
‘This lasting legacy shows their love for pets by helping us provide our life-saving veterinary services across the UK.’
The charity is offering a simple will or codicil to individuals or couples over the age of 50.
The nationwide scheme started this month, after the service was tested in a handful of cities over the past 18 months. So far 350 individual solicitors or firms across the country have signed up to participate.
The service will particularly target Essex, Oxford, Kent, Southampton, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Birmingham and East Sussex.
Dominic Mackenzie, a solicitor from Leeds firm Ison Harrison, said partnering with PDSA has given his firm the opportunity to secure long-term business from other clients who require executor and other services.
He added: ‘It is also a great way to demonstrate our commitment to corporate social responsibility, supporting a charity that helps hundreds of thousands of pets each year.’
According to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, if someone's legal costs are covered by an organisation, solicitors must make clear the details of the arrangements between them and the organisation, and tell their client if they or the referrer is benefiting in anyway, financial or otherwise.
The free will offering comes at a time of uncertainty over whether people can safely leave money to charities in their wills, after the Court of Appeal overturned a woman’s will which had left her entire £500,000 estate to three animal charities. The charities are appealing the decision in the Supreme Court.