Grim Reaper takes his place in class

18th May 2007 at 01:00

Ministers may be obsessed with lifelong learning, but one college has taken things a stage further - teaching people skills which will come in handy after death, writes Joseph Lee.

North East Worcestershire College is pioneering a short course to help people deal with one of life's little inevitabilities.

The one-day session, run by law lecturer Rod York, is intended to help people prepare for their own demise as well as understanding what to do if a loved one passes away. It focuses particularly on making a will.

Mr York said that in between a half and three-quarters of deaths there is no will or it has been incorrectly drawn up.

"It's not a case of if it will happen to you, but when," he said. "But there is a class thing. Professional people are more likely to make wills while the C and D social classes don't, often because they think they've got nothing to leave."

He said the course warns against the DIY will kits available on the high street, which can be inflexible, can mean people miss ways of avoiding heavy tax bills, and are at risk of being filled out incorrectly.

"If you just want to leave everything to your wife, they may be OK, but if you've got children and want to leave them something, it's best to go to a solicitor," he said.

The course will also give details of what to do after someone has died, such as providing death certificates to the right organisations and closing bank accounts.

"It's really for people who think they should sort out their estate, rather than young people who don't have assets or older people who already have wills." But anyone can enrol. As Mr York put it: "We are all going to die."

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