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Leaving a gift in your will - Questions & Answers

What is a Legacy?

A legacy is ‘a gift to someone in a Will'

In order to bequeath a legacy to any charity like ‘Mesothelioma UK Charitable Trust', you must make sure it is included in your will.

The three main types of legacy that you could leave to a charity are:

Residuary Legacy:

Once all other gifts have been made i.e to your family, friends or others from your estate, a residuary legacy is a gift of the remainder or part of your estate,  it is a fraction of your estate rather than a cash sum and will retain the value over time.

Pecuniary Legacy:

Is a monetary gift of a specified amount.

Specific Legacy:

Is a gift of personal possessions, this may be land, buildings, furniture, antiques or jewellery.

How do I Leave a Legacy?

To include Mesothelioma UK Charitable Trust in your will is an easy, straight forward and cost effective way to support us. You would need to add a short statement (clause) to your will and we would always advise you to use your solicitor to assist you.

"I Don't Have Much to Leave"

A common misconception is that legacies can only be large amounts of money and this is just not the case. You could leave as little as £1.00 in your will. Any gift or legacy no matter how large or small, is important to the charities you support and without your donations, we cannot survive.

What is a Pledge?

Gifts that are left in wills are really important to charities. However, even if you haven't made a will, making a pledge to leave a gift in your will in the future is an ideal way that really helps your chosen charity find out about your future intentions which will then enable them to plan for the future. Pledges are not legally binding so by filling out a form you will not be committing yourself! You are simply allowing your chosen charity to confidently estimate future support for their causes.

What About Tax?

Charities are generally exempt from inheritance tax so gifts to Mesothelioma UK Charitable Trust are tax efficient. Many people use gifts to charities to stay within the inheritance tax threshold, thereby avoiding the tax altogether.

What is Inheritance Tax?

We advise you to seek professional advice in respect of Inheritance Tax as the rules can be quite complicated and there could be quite a few exemptions/reliefs that may apply, also inheritance tax can be open to government changes.

What if My Circumstances Change?

If you include a properly worded legacy in your will, it will allow you to take account of any changes that may occur in your personal life. You can be safe in the knowledge that if your circumstances change your will automatically takes care of these changes so that you are able to look after yourself and family first, whilst still being able to take account of your chosen charity, but only if there is money left over from your estate after you depart.

A Guide to Will Making

Making or updating a will is a lot easier than most people think. We have put together and answered a few questions that you may have and why everyone should have a professionally written will and the best way to go about it.

Why Do I Need A Will?

It is important that everyone over the age of 18 years has an up to date professionally written will, and while we cannot predict the future, we can make sure that after our death our wishes throughout our lifetime are carried out, and thereby help to relieve our families of added stress at a time of bereavement.

Although parts of your estate may go to your family, if you have not made a will it maybe that your spouse will have to share their inheritance with persons/relatives you would not want or wish to inherit from your estate. Your family may also have to pay Inheritance Tax, which is currently charged at 40%. If there were no relatives, your estate would then go to the Crown.
Having a will gives you and your loved ones peace of mind; it also means you can save your beneficiaries from paying unnecessary taxes. You may want to leave gifts for other family members or your friends or a charity, and it gives you the opportunity to decide about any wishes you may have about your funeral.

Can I Draw Up My Own Will?

When making a will there are issues that need to be considered, you may wish to create your own or get over the counter templates but unfortunately, they can lead to various problems without professional advice, and they may not easily be rectified after your death. There maybe important details left out or it could lead to the will being made invalid or an unexpected tax bill. When dealing with these issues it is always advisable for you to get professional advice from your solicitor.

Is It Expensive?

It will depend upon how complex your affairs and your wishes are, but making a will is easier and more affordable than you may think. We recommend you contact your solicitor in the first instance and be sure that you and the solicitor are clear about your wishes. You can request an estimate at no commitment before you decide.
You may already have a will and may want it to incorporate a legacy; your solicitor will attach a written instruction called a Codicil (a Codicil is a document used to change a will that has already been made). Do not change the will yourself as it may invalidate it.

Contact the Law Society for details of law firms near you.
England and Wales www.lawsociety.org.uk, or call 020 7242 1222.
Scotland www.lawscot.org.uk, or call 0131 226 7411.

The author accepts no responsibility for actions taken as a result of the above article. When considering your will, a legacy or a pledge legal advice should always be sought for the most up-to-date information and advice tailored to meet your personal circumstances. 

If you would like to discuss leaving a legacy to the Mesothelioma UK Charitable Trust in the future please contact Jill Lemon, Fundraising & Marketing Manager on Freephone 0800 169 2409.