As part of our Charity of the Year partnership with Heringtons Solicitors, the local legal firm shares here its answers to frequently asked questions about leaving a gift to charity in your Will.

1. How do I leave a gift in my Will?

If you are writing your Will and kindly considering leaving a gift to a charity like Care for the Carers, then the wording below can be used. However, we always recommend that you take professional advice to ensure the gift you leave meets your personal circumstances. Types of gifts are:

Residuary gift (that is any % from 1% to 100% depending on your circumstances):

I give a ....% share of the residue of my estate to [CHARITY NAME] of [CHARITY ADDRESS] (Charity Registration Number: xxxxxxx) to be used for its general charitable purposes and I declare that the receipt of their Treasurer or other proper officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge.

Cash gift (any sum of money, also known as a pecuniary gift):

I give free of tax to [CHARITY NAME] of [CHARITY ADDRESS] (Charity Registration Number: xxxxxx) the sum of £ [words and figures] to be used for its general charitable purposes, and I declare that the receipt of their Treasurer or other proper officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge.

Specific item:

I leave to [CHARITY NAME] of [CHARITY ADDRESS] (Charity Registration Number: xxxxxxx) (description of item) absolutely for the general purposes of the said charity and I direct that the receipt of the Treasurer or other duly authorised officer shall be a sufficient discharge to my executors.

If you are updating your Will and want to add a gift to Care for the Carers you can ask a qualified professional such as a solicitor to add an amendment or you can add something called a codicil (this is basically an amendment - see Q5 below) to your Will.

If you choose to do a codicil it is recommended that you store it in a secure place, preferably with the Will, and that you make your solicitor aware of it and where it is.

Download a Codicil form

2. Do I have enough to leave a gift?

You can decide how much you want to leave, and charities will be grateful for any gift, large or small.

A ‘residuary’ gift may suit you better as it leaves a portion of your estate, only after all other gifts, debts and expenses have been paid first. This gift doesn’t need to be a large sum, and can be as small as 1%.

3. Are there any tax benefits to leaving a gift in my Will?

A gift in your Will to a charity, such as Care for the Carers, doesn’t incur inheritance tax and can reduce the amount of inheritance tax that you pay. However, this a highly complex area and we recommend you consult a solicitor to discuss it further.

4. Can I leave a gift to a specific type of project?

It is possible to request that your gift is used in a specific way or for a specific project if you wish, and Care for the Carers can discuss this with you. Because circumstances change it can be better for a charity if the gift does not come with restrictions, to enable your gift to be used where it is most needed at the time.

5. I already have a Will, can I update it?

Yes, you can add an amendment (Codicil) for very minor changes (see above to download the form). However, it is recommended that you look at your Will at least every five years and update it every 10 years, or sooner if significant changes are made to inheritance tax laws. Your solicitor or financial advisor can advise you.

6. Why should I make a Will?

It is important to make a Will so that your wishes are carried out, and your loved ones are provided for. It is particularly important if you are caring, that you consider how the person you cared for will be looked after. If you do not leave a Will there could be many legal problems for your family to resolve.

7. What will happen if I haven’t made a Will?

If you don’t have a Will then there are laws (called the intestacy rules) which decide who will inherit and how much. It may not be the people you are expecting, and people you do want to inherit may end up with nothing. It is essential to have a Will to make sure your wishes are carried out.

8. Is making a Will complicated or expensive?

It is possible to make a Will by yourself, however it is recommended that you use a solicitor or a Will writing professional, particularly if you have complex circumstances, such as caring roles.

See a list of local Will writing discounts for carers

A Will writing professional is someone qualified to write Wills by a recognised body. They are often cheaper than solicitors but it is recommended that you use a solicitor if you:

  • Have assets overseas
  • Run a business that is likely to be part of your estate
  • Will have to pay inheritance Tax
  • Have a complicated family situation, such as making special arrangements for the person you care for.

You are able to get a basic Will written by a solicitor for free during free Wills month in March or October. If you are over 55, free basic Will writing services are also available during Will Aid in November.

9. What is a basic Will?

Will Aid defines it as: a Will for anyone whose assets are below the inheritance tax threshold and/or is simply leaving their assets to a few family and friends or charities would be considered a basic Will.

However, if you need any trusts set up (such as for the person you care for) or financial or estate-planning advice then this would be beyond a basic Will.

10. How long will it take to make a Will?

For a solicitor to write a Will for you there will be a one hour initial appointment, and the final Will can take anything from a week to a month, depending on the complexity and if independent financial advice is needed to be sought. They will advise on the expected time.

11. Do I need a Solicitor to make a Will?

You don’t need a Solicitor, you can buy a DIY Will Kit or do it online, but these Wills are very basic and can often be contested. Using a professional will give you tailored advice for your particular circumstances, help you make informed choices and reduce the likelihood of the Will being contested at a later date.

12. What information about Care for the Carers do I need to include?

To include Care for the Carers in your Will you will need:

  • Name of charity (Care for the Carers)
  • Registered charity number: (1074906)
  • Registered address: (Highlight House, 8 St Leonards Road, Eastbourne, BN21 3UH)

13. What kind of things do I need to think about when creating a Will?

A Will planner, like this one by Free Wills Month, will help you cover all the things you need to think about, such as your Executors, the value of your estate and any gifts you might want to leave. A solicitor will also go through all of this with you in an initial appointment.

14. When should you make a Will?

Now - really! It will give you peace of mind. However, you might want to think about making a Will at particular life stages, such as when you purchase a house, get married, have children and so on. It is also recommended that Wills are reviewed at least every five years and updated at least every 10 years.

15. What is my inheritance tax?

You may be liable to Inheritance Tax if the total value of your estate is above the £325,000 threshold. However, this is a very complex issue, so we recommend that you speak to an independent financial advisor or solicitor about the implications of inheritance tax on your estate.

16. How do I choose my executors?

They can be friends, family or anyone over 18. It is recommend that you have two executors. If there are minor beneficiaries (people under 18 years old) then a Trust is formed, and you have to have to have two people to administer a Trust. It is also good to have some ‘spares/backups’, which can often be solicitors or accountants.

17. If I marry, will it affect my current Will?

Yes, it voids the Will, so you will need to make a new one.

18. If there is someone who is reliant on me, do I need to make provisions in my Will?

For carers it is wise to, yes, because dependants can make a claim on their estate. You can make Trusts in a Will which specifically look after the cared for person’s needs, and disabled person Trusts - a solicitor can advise on these.

Are you an East Sussex Carers Card holder?

Save money when writing your Will - check out the discounts available for carers with local Will writing professionals and legal firms.

Get a Carers Card

With thanks to Heringtons for providing the answers above to the FAQs.