Leaving a legacy: Frequently asked questions

Got a question about leaving a legacy in your Will? We’ve got the answers.

In this section

Why should I make a Will?

A Will ensures that your possessions and property are distributed according to your particular wishes after your death. Without a Will, there is no guarantee that your estate will be dealt with as you intended.

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What happens if I do not make a Will?

If you die without making a Will (intestate), your estate will be dealt with according to law. Usually, this means your estate will be left to your next of kin, leaving out other family and friends who you may have also wanted to benefit. If there are no surviving relatives who can inherit under the rules of intestacy, the estate passes to the Crown.

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How do I make a Will?

The best way to make a Will is to see a Solicitor or professional Will Writer. Although your intentions may be simple, the legal formalities and language required are complicated and must be carefully followed. Some people are beginning to opt to write a ‘letter of wishes’, these are not intended to be legally binding, however, offer guidance to Executors on your intentions. It is a separate document from the Will and can provide more confidentiality and flexibility; as it can be changed or replaced as the testator’s circumstances or those of their family change.

You can also have a Will written for free with our partnership with Free Wills Network. If you’re interested in more information please email legacy@thechildrenstrust.org.uk.

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How much does it cost to make a Will?

The cost of making a Will can vary, but usually between £85 and £200. So it is an inexpensive way of ensuring your wishes are carried out. It is strongly recommended you seek professional advice when making a Will to ensure it complies with the detailed legal requirements and is valid. The Law Society can provide you with a list of solicitors in your area.

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What is Inheritance Tax (IHT) and will it apply to me?

Inheritance Tax is a tax payable on the remainder of an estate that is over and above the Inheritance threshold. Most home-owners will be liable to pay IHT on their estate, so check with your Solicitor for the latest threshold before tax is payable.

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Why should I consider leaving a legacy to a charity?

Gifts to a charity are exempt from Inheritance Tax, which means leaving a charitable gift can reduce the amount of tax your estate incurs. A charitable gift can be an affordable way for many people to support their favourite charity, something that might not have been possible during their lifetime.

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Why do I need to review my Will?

It is advised to review your Will whenever you make a significant purchase, such as a house, or there is a change in your family situation, such as a marriage, divorce or birth of a child. If you do not review your Will at these times, your wishes may not be fully reflected in your Will.

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If I want to add a bequest, do I have to write a new Will?

No, you can make minor amendments or changes to your Will without the need for a whole new one. This is a simple procedure that your Solicitor can assist you with.

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What if I need to make a change to my Will?

You may need to alter the terms of your Will as circumstances change. This is easy and your Solicitor can help you to do this by adding a to your Will or you may need to update any ‘letters of wishes’ you have written and may be held by your Executor(s).

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Have further questions?

If you have any further questions relating to gifts in Wills, please call our Supporter Care team on 01737 364 349 or email supportercare@thechildrenstrust.org.uk