Gifts in Wills FAQs
How do I leave a gift to Tom’s Trust in my Will?
It’s simpler than ever to leave a gift in your Will to your chosen charity/charities. You may well be able to have your Will completed in one short session with a solicitor. All you need to know is who your beneficiaries are, and their addresses, along with a breakdown ocf what you own. You can break it down by monetary value, or by a percentage of your estate. Most people either choose to leave everything in percentages or have a mix of the two.
Do I need a professional or can I do it myself?
It’s important that you use a professional to help with your Will, because if there are any discrepancies your Will could be deemed void – which means your wishes may not be followed.
You can use:
–a professional Will writer, as long as they’re signed up to the Institute of Professional Will Writers (a self-regulatory body which protects you during the process)
–a bank or building society
–charities. Tom’s Trust’s charity partner Irwin Mitchell LLP can write your Will for you at a discounted rate. Just mention us when you get in touch.
Whichever route you choose to go down, always agree the fee in advance. We recommend contacting The Law Society to find a list of solicitors near you.
When should I make a Will?
You should make a Will as soon as you have assets (anything of significant value). You should then update your Will every five years, or after any major life event, such as having a baby or purchasing a home. If you are a parent, you should decide who you want to be your children’s legal guardians if both parents die when the children are under 18 (or under 16 in Scotland). It’s particularly important to use a professional if your Will is not straightforward.
Getting married invalidates any Will you previously had, so make sure it’s updated after your nuptials or amended to be made in expectation of the marriage taking place. You can either write a new Will, or your solicitor can help you to add a document called a codicil to your existing Will if you would like to update it. However, a codicil is only ever used for very minor amendments to a Will. If you need to make any changes to your Will, these will need to be made in writing and signed and witnessed by two people (one in Scotland) in the same way as the original Will.
How do I get started?
- Make a list of who your beneficiaries are
- List all your assets and their value (don’t worry if this isn’t exact)
- Decide how you want split your estate
- Decide who you want to be your Executor
- Check if you need to pay Inheritance Tax
- Get in touch with a professional, reputable solicitor or Will writer and speak to them about their fees. Once you’re happy with who you’ve chosen, they’ll explain anything else you need to do.
I want to leave a gift in my Will to Tom’s Trust. How do I go about doing this?
You should include the charity’s name, address and registered charity number. Your solicitor/Will writer might like to use this wording:
I leave ____________ to Tom’s Trust, of The Mezzanine Studio, Old School Complex, High Street, Whittlesford, Cambridge, CB22 4YS; registered charity number 1183559, for its general charitable purposes absolutely.
There are different types of gifts in Wills. These include:
- Residuary gifts – A share, or sometimes all, of an estate after all the other payments have been made. These are usually in percentages.
- Pecuniary gifts – A specific sum of money.
- Specific gifts – A particular item of value, such as property, antiques, jewellery and shares.
It is important that your intention is clear in your Will, so that the executors can understand exactly what you intended.
Can I specify how my legacy is used?
Though it’s possible to specify how your legacy is used, it can become complex and time-consuming for a charity if certain services stop or your wishes are too specific. We recommend keeping your gift flexible to Tom’s Trust, and in return we promise to ensure that children with brain tumours and their families are given the help they need through your generosity. We will always ensure our charitable income is used in the best way possible.
How does leaving a charitable gift in my Will affect inheritance tax?
The standard Inheritance Tax rate is 40 percent. It’s only charged on the part of your estate that’s above £325,000 threshold. There are other tax free allowances that can be utilised in some cases but you would need to discuss these with your professional advisor.
Any gift you make to UK charities is free of inheritance tax. Your donation will either be taken off the value of your estate before Inheritance Tax is calculated, which means you will not be taxed on it, or, the estate can pay Inheritance Tax at a reduced rate of 36 percent on some assets if you leave 10 percent or more of the ‘net value’ to charity in your Will.
Do I need an executor for my Will?
Yes, you will need an executor. Anyone aged 18 or over can be an executor, even if they benefit from your Will. You can have up to four but usually two, the recommended minimum, is more straightforward and manageable. You’ll want to choose people you trust, who are organised and competent with paperwork. You can appoint a professional, but they will usually charge for the service. Tom’s Trust cannot act as an executor of your Will.
How do I ensure my Will is valid?
It’s important to work with a legal professional who can talk you through writing your Will.
For a Will to be valid, there are certain conditions that must be met:
–The Will must be made by a person who is 18 years old or over.
–Your Will must be made voluntarily and without pressure from any other person.
–Your Will must be on paper, a ‘soft’ copy on a computer is not valid.
–Your Will must be signed by you, in the presence of two witnesses and signed by the two witnesses, in your presence (in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has announced that Wills can now be witnessed virtually for the first time, via video link. However, the advice remains that where people can make Wills in the conventional way they should continue to do so. For more information please read the government guidance.)
–Witnesses can be anyone over 18 but cannot be a beneficiary of your Will, nor the spouse or civil partner of a beneficiary of your Will.
–Witnesses do not need to read your Will or be aware of its contents.
More information on ensuring that your Will is valid can be found on the Citizens Advice website.
Can I make a Will with my spouse?
A single Will is a Will for an individual. For a couple you can also write mirror Wills, which are two separate Wills which set out the same wishes within both. For example for two spouses or partners.
The two Wills would essentially mirror what the other says.