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Writing a will – some help getting started

Posted on 12:06 pm in Articles | Comments Off on Writing a will – some help getting started

It’s easy to put off writing a will. We all have excuses – ‘I’m still young’ (this body is impermanent), ‘I don’t have anything of value’ (most people are surprised by what their seemingly meagre assets add up to), ‘I’m sure it’ll all be taken care of by my family’ (leaving it up to friends and family to sort out after your death can be complicated and stressful). Writing a will can be easier than you think. Here is a brief guide to getting started. Writing a Will Part 1: Where to Start? Download the Will Planner on our website. First up – figuring out what you have to give. Home, savings, car, pension are often the main things on people’s list. Other things to consider are stocks and shares, insurance and any valuable items. Then comes the less pleasant part – figuring out what you have to owe: outstanding mortgage, loans or overdrafts are often the major considerations. Hopefully you now feel a bit lighter for having taken stock of what you own and what you owe. Time for a cuppa! Writing a Will Part 2: Making bequests Property: If you co-own your property you partner will be the beneficiary of your share of your jointly owned property. If you are co-habiting it is important to have a valid will in place as cohabitees will not automatically have rights. It is a good idea to talk to your solicitor about any complicating circumstances regarding what you would like to happen to your property when you die – for example if you want to create a trust. Pension: Some pension schemes allow you to name the beneficiaries of your pension through an ‘Expression of Wish’. Since the new laws introduced in April 2015, if you die before the age of 75 no tax will be charged on pension savings left to a beneficiary. Savings:  If you have substantial savings in an ISA you might want to look into the rules of inheritance and tax more thoroughly. Valuables: To leave specific items to named beneficiaries is called a specific bequest. ‘I leave my car to my partner and my grandmother’s jewellery to my mother.’ Any other valuable or sentimental items should also be included. If you have any Buddhist art or statues you may want to include these in a specific bequest to a particular person or Buddhist Centre. It is worth noting that inheritance tax is applicable for money and property if you are an unmarried couple. Writing a Will Part 3: Naming your Executors Talking about this does feel scary – as if coming one step closer to the reality that one day we will die, that everyone we know will die, and that in the midst of the grief of loss there will be practicalities to be dealt with. Making a will is a small way in which we can help those we care about during that difficult time after our death, by removing the added complications and confusion that arises when somebody dies without a will. It is advised that we name two executors in our will. Often people will appoint their solicitor as one. Friends and family can be executors – but it makes sense to choose somebody younger than yourself. Executors should be someone...

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Death and Dying – what will you do?

Posted on 11:47 am in Articles | Comments Off on Death and Dying – what will you do?

‘In my fantasies I am exempted from the general truth of death. But that is a delusion, and death will come to me, even me, as well.’  – The Four Reminders, Vishvapani Despite this truth, we often shy away from talking about death and dying. By opening up this conversation, and by taking steps to make your wishes known to friends and family, you can ensure that your wishes and choices are respected.  What are your funeral wishes? Who would you like to benefit from any wealth and possessions you leave behind? How would you want to be cared for if you could no longer make decisions? Take Action “Although I have thought about making a will many times and also discussed it with others, I haven’t yet done so. It is something that I really need to do. As we know, death is not dependent on age. Making a will is actually Mindfulness of not- Breathing.” – Dharmachari Paramashanti   As well as talking to friends and family about your wishes, you can also record your wishes in legally binding documents, helping bring peace of mind to you and your loved ones. Write a will Making a will is not only practical, easing the stress on the people you care about, but can be a reflective, liberating practice. Writing a will, or amending an existing one, is fairly straightforward , and the benefits far-reaching. If you would like us to send you a leaflet with more information about making a will, including a will planner document, then please emails us at info@abhayaratnatrust.org Living wills To ensure that your wishes are respected should you no longer be able to make decisions about your care you can record your wishes in a legally binding document known as a Living Will. Visit http://compassionindying.org.uk/ for more information about the steps you can make to plan...

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An Invitation to Get Involved

Posted on 2:00 pm in Articles | Comments Off on An Invitation to Get Involved

Would you like to get involved in helping a Triratna charity? We are seeking Mitras and Order members to help us create connections with local centres. Become a ‘Just Ask’ or a ‘Just Give’ representative, and help the Abhayaratna Trust to continue providing support for Triratna Buddhist Order members in need of support. ‘Just Ask’ Representative A ‘Just Ask’ representative is the bridge between local Order members and the Abhayaratna Trust. As someone involved with the local Sangha you may be aware of Order members in financial difficulties or, if an Order member would like to make an application to the Abhayaratna Trust, then you might be involved in encouraging them to do so. Ideally you would help to share what we do with local Order members through giving our leaflets to chapters, once or twice a year, or perhaps giving a short presentation at a regional Order event. If you are an Order member and like the sound of being an Abhayaratna Trust ‘Just Ask’ Representative then please get in touch: taradakini@abhayaratnatrust.org ‘Just Give’ Representative An Abhayaratna Trust ‘Just Give’ representative is someone who helps create a link between the Abhayaratna Trust and local centres, and who we can coordinate with if for example we have a new fundraising initiative. You wouldn’t have to be involved directly in fundraising,but as a local contact we would love to let you know what we are doing to support the Order and encourage people at your local Sangha to get involved. You might for example put up a poster in your local centre and giving out leaflets to your chapter/GFR group/study group. If you are a Mitra or Order member who would like to help us create connections with your local Sangha, then please get in touch: mail to: jinavamsa@abhayaratnatrust.org.uk Other ways to get involved Fundraising Are you an artist, a dancer, a comedian, a rock-and-roll star in the making? Could you organise a film night, a bake sale, a quiz night, a tea party or a knit-a-thon?  Rummage around in your creative store and see what you can offer! If you can see yourself running a fundraising event for The Abhayaratna Trust then please get in touch: mail to: jinavamsa@abhayaratnatrust.org.uk Need some inspiration? Ratnadhya made a welcome donation from the proceeds of his show ‘A Meeting of Minds’, performed at the West London Buddhist Centre. Going on retreat? Did you know you can raise money for The Abhayaratna Trust every time you book a train journey? Simply shop via @Give as you Live and a percentage of your spend will be donated to us, at no extra cost. 1. Click on the link to join Give as You Live.  2. Type ‘Trainline’ in the search box. 3. Click on the link and proceed with your booking as normal (while enjoying the warm, fuzzy feeling of having contributed to a great cause!) You can also use ‘Give as You Live’ to buy other items such as a book or a gift – simply log in and search for the product you want to buy. Your involvement and support in invaluable to us. Thank...

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A MEMOIR OF ABHAYARATNA

Posted on 5:45 pm in Articles | Comments Off on A MEMOIR OF ABHAYARATNA

A MEMOIR OF ABHAYARATNA

Abhayaratna was the first friend I made when the North London Buddhist Centre opened to the public. It was October 1992. The previous week Bhante had come along for the official opening and the rented studio off the Holloway Road had been packed with Order members wearing kesas, and friends and mitras from all over London and the South East. The week after the opening, the number of people who came along to the centre for the Friends’ evening was in single figures. I began a conversation with the only other man in the room. He was a wiry looking fellow of about 50 with short hair and a serious look on his face. After introducing himself as Chris (as he was then called) he had little to say – except that he was determined to commit himself to the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order. We joined a study group that started to work its way through the then mitra study programme under the leadership of Devapriya. At first, Chris struck me as a very quiet man, but as study progressed he began to become more open about himself. Although naturally reserved, that Dharma study enabled him to develop in a way that had not been possible before. Chris loved the study material and took on the job of copying the cassette tapes of Bhante Sangharakshita’s lectures that we listened to as preparation for each week’s meeting. Quite soon Chris began to regularly give the rest of us an introduction to the week’s topic. More than once Devapriya delegated to him the task of leading the group discussion for the whole evening. Chris came from a working class Irish family living in the Home Counties and had had a traditional Catholic upbringing. He had not done well at school and had left as soon as he could, with few if any qualifications. Chris and Devapriya had met each other in the counter-culture of the early 1970s. (Chris was proud of the fact that he had been to the very first Glastonbury festival.) He joined a group of young squatters in a Victorian apartment block called Stanley Buildings right next to St Pancras Station. The squatters had managed to fend off attempts by the local authority to evict them and after winning a court case had formed a housing co-op and become licensed tenants. At about the same time, Chris had taken a City & Guilds course in gardening. One handwritten notice in Hampstead Public Library had secured him a few clients and word of mouth soon got him many more. At the same time Chris was actively working towards ordination into the Western Buddhist Order. He loved going up to Padmaloka for the training retreats and would return buzzing with enthusiasm for more study and practice. He had tremendous respect for senior Order members and the Ordination team in particular. On one particular occasion he came back full of excitement about a talk he’d just heard about the Blue Cliff Record of Zen koans and invited me round to his flat in Stanley Buildings to listen to a cassette recording of it. The flat was spacious and tidy with his gardening tools stacked away in a back room. The living room was full of books mostly on Buddhism and...

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Why Write a Will?

Posted on 10:42 am in Articles | Comments Off on Why Write a Will?

Why Write a Will?

NEWS: Satyadasa will be at Birmingham Buddhist Centre on 15 April to give a workshop on wills and legacies. Satyadasa writes: A Will is something most people agree is a good idea, but getting round to it can take a while. The business of being alive takes up rather a lot of time and thinking about death can languish near the bottom of one’s “to do” list for an aeon. It’s not always easy to convince anyone to speed up – people come to it according to their temperament or prompted by some life event or change of circumstances. If you like good reasons, however, a Will helps you: Leave your affairs clear for family, friends and other beneficiaries. This can save arguments and be a comfort to those left coming to terms with your death. You also appoint the people you choose to look after your affairs (called Executors). Give money, property or other gifts to the people you love and care about. And appoint guardians for your children if they are below age 18. Save on inheritance tax. An estate over the current size of £325,000 may be subject to inheritance tax at 40%, depending on who you leave your property to. A good Will makes use of the available tax free amounts. Support the future growth of your favourite charity. It’s a chance to make the biggest gift to charity you may ever give and it’s tax free. Ensure your property doesn’t get handed on against your will. The law of intestacy (which takes effect when you don’t leave a Will) can be complex and is not guaranteed to achieve the result you would have wished. For example, an unmarried partner has no automatic right to receive your property under the laws of intestacy. Sort out some of your affairs now with estate planning and asset protection. Writing a Will might also encourage you to save tax by giving things away now; or it may encourage you to be more organised; or maybe you will decide to take your loved ones on a nice holiday! Think about how you want your personal effects to be dealt with. Connect with what is important to you. There is also a strong emotional aspect to writing a Will as it inevitably requires us to consider the prospect that one day we will die. Hard as this is, getting clear on practical matters is likely to have a positive emotional effect. Satyadasa/David Waterston MSWW, MA(Law) is a Member of the Society of Will Writers Visit his website www.greengatewills.co.uk or email davidwaterston@swwmember.co.uk Tel: 0790 599 1098, Skype...

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Sangharakshita on the death of his mother and sister

Posted on 7:47 am in Articles | Comments Off on Sangharakshita on the death of his mother and sister

Sangharakshita on the death of his mother and sister

Bhante Sangharakshita discusses how he responded to the deaths of his mother, sister, other family and friends… Here is an extract from a conversation with Ratnachuda – also available to download. Sangharakshita: I was in contact with my mother quite regularly, especially during the last years of her life. I visited her regularly. She came up to Padmaloka more than once. She visited me at Sukhavati. She was very struck by the image in the shrine room. Very struck. I remember that very well. Her death didn’t come as a great surprise. She was 92. Ratnachuda: So, you have inherited the genetics of longevity! Sangharakshita: Who knows?! My mother’s two youngest brothers, they lived into their nineties. Anyway, concerning my mother, there’s a little story I will tell you. She was in hospital, suffering from old age. She had had a fall, two years earlier, when she had broken her arm. I was due to see her in two weeks’ time, again. One morning at breakfast I suddenly felt, ‘I’ve got to go and see my mother. I can’t wait for two weeks. I’ve got to go and see her.’ Very strong. So I said to Paramartha, who was with me, “Let’s go and see my mother.” So we went to the hospital, and saw the nurse, and she asked me who I was, and I said I wanted to see Mrs Wiltshire, and that I was her son. She said, “I’m sorry to have to tell you, she died at two o’clock in the morning.” Ratnachuda: That was the first you heard? Sangharakshita: That was the first I’d heard, yes. I can’t quite remember, I think they may have phoned my nephew, because he lived around the corner from my mother, and he and his wife quite regularly looked after her and visited her. Of course the hospital didn’t have my phone number. They would have had my nephew’s number. So that was a bit of a shock, because even though my mother was so old, and I wasn’t expecting her to live much longer, it comes as a bit of a shock. So the nurse made me a cup of tea, and I asked if I could see the body, and she said she’d arrange it. After half an hour, we went to the Chapel of Rest. I just sat with my mother’s body for half an hour and we chanted the Vajrasattva mantra and of course I went to the funeral. Straight from the hospital I went to my nephew’s place and saw him and his wife. However, I didn’t feel any real sorrow till about three days later. Ratnachuda: Was there a trigger for that sorrow three days later? Sangharakshita: I don’t think there was. Of course I had the same experience when I heard of the death of Dhardo Rimpoche. I didn’t feel it emotionally, at the time; it didn’t register emotionally until three days later. ‘It,’ as it were, hit me. Ratnachuda: There is something – and you can put me right as you are often misquoted, however I can’t find a reference – I’m told that in a seminar before your mother died, you were asked whether you would feel grief, and your response at the time was “not grief, but sadness”....

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Next of kin

Posted on 7:53 am in Articles | Comments Off on Next of kin

Next of kin

Translating Sangha connections for the National Health Service. NHS Trusts may get your next of kin wrong if you are unconscious… The issue of whether or not you would be recognised as your Order friend’s ‘next of kin’ in the event of an emergency is something that may worry many of us. Would you be informed if your Order brother or sister was in an accident? Would you be given information about their condition? And would you even be allowed to see them in hospital? Might your family even argue about who was your next of kin? Download our article by Jnanamitra and print out your Next of Kin card for your...

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