Frequently asked questions about Wills
Leaving a gift in your Will doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some frequently asked questions which will hopefully help you through the process.
Why make a Will?
Without a will, your estate will be divided according to the law, which may not be in accordance with your wishes. Everyone should make a Will as this is the only way you can make sure your Estate is distributed the way you want it to be. It equally important that it should be drawn up with the help of a solicitor to ensure your last wishes are met.
What is a legacy?
This is a gift left in your Will. It can be in the form of a specific value, a percentage of your estate or a specific item.
What is Inheritance tax?
If your estate (the property and money you leave behind when you die) exceeds the threshold of £325,000, set by HMRC in 2012-13, anything over this amount will be liable to inheritance tax at the rate of 40%. However, charitable gifts in a Will are tax exempt, which means that a gift to WDC could help reduce the tax inheritance on your estate. We recommend discussing tax implications with your solicitor.
Are there any tax benefits to leaving a gift to Whale and Dolphin Conservation in my Will?
If you leave a gift to Whale and Dolphin Conservation in your Will, it will not be included when valuing your estate for Inheritance Tax purposes. The value of your gift will be deducted from your estate before Inheritance Tax is applied. We would encourage you to discuss your Will and the type of gift you might like to leave to WDC with your solicitor.
What if I change your mind?
This is your Will and it is entirely up to you if you change your mind about your gift. You can change the content of your Will at any time. We understand and respect that your decisions about your will are private, personal and made after much consideration. We will never pressure you to declare your intentions, of course we’ll always be pleased to hear from you, so we can say thank you.
How can I find a solicitor?
We cannot recommend and individual solicitor for you to use however, The Law Society can find one local to you here or 020 7242 1222.
I’ve already made a will. Do I need to make a new one?
You do not need to make a new will. Instead you can add a codicil to your will and send it to your solicitor. A codicil is a document on which changes or additions are made to an existing will and must be read in conjunction with it.
What kind of gift should I leave?
There are three main types of gifts you may leave in your will. All three are tax free:
- a percentage of your estate (a residuary bequest) - is the whole or a percentage of what remains of your estate after all other legacies and expenses have been paid. These gifts are very important to us as they usually maintain their value or increase over time.
- a specific sum of money (a pecuniary legacy) - is a gift in your Will of a set amount.
- a specific item - could be something valuable such as antiques, paintings or even property.