How to include a gift in your will
Back to Include a gift in your will
First of all, thank you very much for thinking about us when it comes to including a gift in your will. Where to start
If you haven’t yet drawn up a will, we recommend using a will-writing professional such as a solicitor or someone from your bank. It’s not a particularly difficult or expensive process and could save a lot of time and expense later. In particular, if you draw up your own will there’s no guarantee it will be legally valid.
Finding a professional can be as easy as a flick through the Yellow Pages. You can also contact the
Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP), The Law Society (for England and Wales), The Law Society of Scotland or The Law Society of Northern Ireland who can provide you with details of will-writing professionals. Valuing your estate
Before you go and see a will-writing professional, it’s important to try and calculate what your estate is worth, so that you have the information needed to make decisions about your will. Don’t forget to include things like valuable items (jewellery for instance) and, of course, any property you own.
You may want to secure the future of your family and/or friends first. This may mean setting up a trust for dependents. We sincerely hope that you’ll include us in your will and offer the hope of a life free from pain to future generations of arthritis sufferers.
You’ll also need to choose your executor – someone you trust to carry out your wishes after you’re gone. Often a solicitor will act as joint executor with a family member or friend.
Types of gift
There are four main types of gift you can leave to charities like Arthritis Research UK.
Residuary – this is a percentage of the value of your estate after all your other wishes have been met and expenses paid.
Pecuniary – this is a fixed sum of money, like £1,000 or £10,000. Of course, it doesn’t take into account inflation or the total value of your estate.
Specific – this means leaving something of value like an item of jewellery or an antique.
Conditional – a gift you would make if the person you first intended to benefit died before you.
Making the decision will depend on your wishes and the kind of estate you are likely to leave. A professional can offer useful advice here.
Finding the right words
Here are some examples of how a gift to a charity like Arthritis Research UK should be worded.
Wording for a Pecuniary Legacy:
"I give, devise and bequeath to the Arthritis Research UK of Copeman House, St Mary's Court, St Mary's Gate, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S41 7TD, registered charity number 207711, the sum of £XX (XX pounds) for its general charitable purpose and I declare that the receipt of the Secretary or other proper officer shall be a good and sufficient discharge therefore."
Wording for a Residuary Bequest:
"Subject as aforesaid I give, devise and bequeath to the Arthritis Research UK of Copeman House, St Mary's Court, St Mary's Gate, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S41 7TD, registered charity number 207711 the whole [or a _____share (e.g. one quarter or 25%)] of my residuary estate for its general charitable purpose and I declare that the receipt of the Secretary or other proper officer shall be a good and sufficient discharge therefore."
Inheritance Tax is due on your estate only if it is valued over the current Inheritance Tax threshold or 'nil rate band' (£325,000 in 2011-12). Your estate value also includes any assets held in trust and gifts made within seven years of death. The tax is payable at a rate of 40% on the amount over the threshold, but not everyone pays Inheritance Tax as most estates are valued below the threshold.
If you are a married couple or civil partners, you can increase the threshold on the estate when the second partner dies - to as much as £650,000 (in 2011-12). For further information on how to transfer an unused Inheritance Tax threshold, please visit
Should your estate be liable to Inheritance Tax, you could choose to include a gift to charity and reduce the amount due. The value of a gift will be deducted from your estate before Inheritance Tax is worked out.
From 6th April 2012, changes to Inheritance Tax laws will be introduced so that if you make a gift to charity of 10% or more of your estate, the Inheritance Tax rate will be reduced from 40% to 36%.
For further information, please visit