A Will is the best way to ensure your wishes are carried out after your death. If you die without a Will, it not only causes your family the pain of dealing with your affairs, but also means someone else decides who gets your money, and in what shares.
When thinking of your Will, loved ones always come first. But once they are provided for, many people choose to donate a share of what is left over to a charity they care about. It’s always best to consult a solicitor, to make sure your wishes can’t be misunderstood later on.
Key things to consider:
You may have a family solicitor you already use, or ask a relative or friend to recommend one. Or you can find one though the Law Society or through our Free Wills Services.
Before you meet with the solicitor, it is a good idea to think about:
1. the main things you own – like a house, shares, endowments, savings or life insurance policies
2. what kinds of gifts you want to leave the people and charities you care about – pecuniary (money) or residuary (whatever is left over) legacies
3. who your executor(s) will be.
1. You can donate a percentage of your estate – sometimes called a residuary gift. Many people choose to donate in this way because they will be sure that loved ones are provided for first. It also has the benefit of potentially reducing the amount of inheritance tax you are liable to pay.
2. You can make a specific cash gift.
3. Or you can leave an object such as jewellery, art or shares.
The executors of your Will are in charge of making sure that your wishes are carried out. They tell the beneficiaries about their gifts, settle any remaining bills and take care of the taxes due on your estate.
You need to be able to trust them, and they need to be prepared to take on this responsibility.
You can name a family member (including someone benefiting from your Will) or a friend.
Alternatively, you can use a professional like an accountant or solicitor (who will normally require payment from your estate). Or, if you prefer, a combination of relatives, friends and professionals.
Gifts left in Wills are so important to MDUK and these very special gifts fund over 30 percent* of the groundbreaking research we fund, that changes lives. Even as little as one percent of your estate will make a meaningful contribution to MDUK’s research programme in the years to come.
You can find wording to give to your solicitor here.
If you have included MDUK in your Will, or intend to do so, please let us know. We’d like to invite you to exclusive events and visits, where you can hear directly from scientists about what is happening in research and how your gift might be used. To get in touch, use this online form or contact Catriona Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7803 4834.
*34% average over the past five years (2013 – 2018)