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IT'S a fair question. Many of us make a will when we enter later life and then forget about it.

It's as if we'd ticked off the will-making function on some sort of list that emerges when we hit middle age.

The trouble is that will-making these days can't really be seen as a one-off event. Your circumstances change, your family's circumstances change and the Government continues to have a significant interest in the size of your estate.

And that's a good place to start. Do you know how much you are worth? Have you thought about it in the last few years?

Many people are astonished by the value of their assets - the mortgage may have been repaid or is at least in sight of being repaid and that lulls some of us into a happy relaxation about our financial affairs.

It's a dangerous kind of relaxation. Your house, paid for or not, will have enhanced its value dramatically in the last few years.

Have you thought about the implications of that increased value on your estate and, therefore, on your current will? Do you know the point at which inheritance tax (40 per cent, remember) is levied on your estate?

These are all reasons why you should aim to update your will every two or three years, Fortunately one of the country's leading charities will help you do it completely free!

The FreeWill Service from Cancer Research UK.

Cancer Research UK has teamed up with local solicitors to offer a free will-updating service. It's a scheme that has helped thousands of will- makers over the last few years and the charity is now promoting the scheme in our area. You'll probably find a leaflet describing the scheme on your doormat in the next week or two.

The rules are simple. The service is just for updating a will. It is offered only to people aged 55 or over. And there is no condition that you must leave a charitable legacy, though Cancer Research UK obviously hope that you will consider leaving a bequest for their research programme in that updated will.

The legal costs of the updating will be paid by the charity. It really is a wonderful opportunity to get your affairs in better order.

Why Cancer Research UK cares so much about Will-making.

A good half of their research programme is paid for by legacies every year. That means that people who had the foresight and compassion to remember Cancer Research UK in their wills in the past have helped achieve some quite wonderful things in the fight against cancer.

In the last ten years, the death rate from breast cancer has fallen by 21 per cent. More than 70 per cent of children with the most common form of leukaemia can now be cured. …