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An Emotional legacy - Leaving your loved ones with memories of you

Audrey Dishington
Our lives are not black and white. Who we are amounts to more than simply the amount we have in the bank and the properties we own. Weaving a bit of colour and real life into your Will leaves your loved ones happy memories of you after you have gone.

An Emotional Will allows you the opportunity to have a final conversation with the people you hold dearest. It is not a legal document, but a supplement to your Will which sets down your thoughts, values, lessons in life and hopes and dreams for your children and future generations of your family for years to come.

Leading legal, financial and property specialist Pagan Osborne has worked with many clients to detail all sorts of messages, wishes and memories within their Wills and has seen the comfort these can be to families at difficult times.

We are all busier than ever and managing the paperwork of life is a time-consuming task. Sitting back to think over the truly memorable times and what is important can actually be a lovely thing to do. Planning for a time when we are no longer around is not something most of us will relish, but to know we are making a gesture which will bring some light during a dark time is comforting.

With people living longer and more fragmented lives, there are so many instances when you may simply not have had a chance to share everything you would wish with everyone you hold dear.

Some of the areas people may like to cover in an Emotional Will are:

Favourite memories with your loved ones

Your wishes for their futures and what they mean to you

A special place where they can go to think of you

A favourite book, film or song that can remind them of you

Something you always wish you said

What they mean to you

Encourage them to do something

Apologise to someone you never got the chance to reconnect with

People often think Wills are simply somewhere to detail who gets the house, shares or jewellery. You can actually bequeath almost anything in a Will: whether that is your favourite golf clubs, a collection of comics, an old teddy bear – if you think a particular person will treasure your treasured possessions then outline that in your Will. 

You can also detail how you would like certain areas managed. For instance, if you have children you can outline how you would like them to be educated or if you would like part of your estate to pay for them to Disney World for their next birthday. If you have a pet, you can say who you would like to care for them and what brand of food you would want them to be fed. Some of these examples may seem silly when considering the importance of your legacy, but if it is important to you then it will be something your loved ones will want to know. 

Who we are in life is our legacy and that deserves to be recorded – just as much as the facts and figures which make up our estate. Those who love us will want to preserve our memories and wishes long after we are gone. Outlining those very personal wishes, directions and guidance on bequests and managing affairs will be reassuring for those in charge of your legacy.

Figures suggest that more than half the population do not have a Will*. Dying intestate, or without a Will, can leave a whole host of costly legal, financial and emotional issues for those you love to have to deal with at a difficult time. 

Of those who have a Will, it has been suggested more than 20 per cent have never reviewed it*. Wills, whether they detail estate or emotional matters, must be kept up-to-date. It’s dangerous to makes assumptions about what will happen to your estate as many people don’t have the full picture when it comes to the laws of succession. 

By 2018, it is estimated the government will have received £6bn from Inheritance Tax*. Good estate planning can ensure those you love and the causes you care about receive money that may otherwise go straight to the tax man. 

Leaving a tidy legal, financial and emotional statement gives you the peace of mind now that your loved ones will be cared for in many ways after you are no longer here to do so personally.

For more information on Wills or Emotional Wills, contact Sue Arrowsmith Rodger on 01334 468 622 

*Figures quoted from 


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0131 624 6820 for Edinburgh or 01334 475001 for Fife to discuss your needs.

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