This article was written in 2018 and relates to Wills Month that year. For the latest news and updates, please visit our News pages

The topic of death is generally approached in hushed tones and often only when the matter can't be avoided. Partly for this reason, for many people, making a will is one of the things that is last on the to-do list - if it makes the list at all. 

But when we consider the lasting positive impact a well-planned legacy can make, then we need not look upon writing a will with quite the same reticence. Here's why talking about death is the first step to changing a life. 

Family can be complicated

Of course, many people find it difficult to raise the topic of death with loved ones, and may do so only when death is imminent - perhaps due to illness or old age. Evidence even suggests that people avoid talking about death for fear of bringing it about.

Dying intestate (without a will in place) can create difficulties for those left behind, so it's sensible to 'get one's affairs in order' earlier on, and to revisit your will when you need to update it.

When updating a will with a new solicitor, be sure to note that the charities and organisations you have left money to are still included.

You can, of course, buy an off-the-shelf will document should you wish to, but there can be all sorts of nuances and complexities to consider that require professional guidance.

Having a will in place will help your family to manage your estate in line with your wishes once you have died. Therefore it is a kindness to them to relieve them of stress at what may already be a difficult time.

Friends can be helpful

Talking with friends about death can be an important part of normalising the topic. Inevitably, among friends you will find rich sources of shared experience and information that can help you to prepare for the inevitable, from both a practical and an emotional point of view. 

While the topic remains off the table, it's more difficult to think realistically about making future plans in the event of your own death. Friends can help each other to share stories about bereavement, offer support with executing a loved one's last wishes, or even engage with the psychological or philosophical nature of death.

To help support those who would like to talk about death but don't feel they can bring up a topic, which might be seen by friends and family as too difficult, you could look into the fairly recent phenomenon of the 'Death Cafe'. 

A Death Cafe is a scheduled non-profit get together for the purpose of talking about death over food and drink. The goal of the death cafe is to help others become familiar with the end of life. This can be a useful and enriching experience for those seeking to engage with matters concerning their own death.

A legal professional can help manage complexity

How much does it cost to make a will? And how do I go about making a will? These questions and more we can help you with this Wills Month.

The proportion of the solicitors' fees that goes to the charity will help us to attend patients when they need us and when time is of the essence. 

A legacy can leave a lasting positive impact on those individuals, families and communities serve. 

Find out more about supporting Devon Air Ambulance in your Will