Having a Will isn’t a legal requirement, but it’s the only way to ensure that your estate is passed on to the people and charities that you want it to go to. Without a Will, it’s the legal system that will decide who receives what from your estate.
On average, it’ll cost between £80 and £150 to arrange a new Will, which is a small price to pay for such an important document. A well-written Will can help make sure your loved ones don’t pay any more Inheritance Tax than they need to, and can avoid any expensive legal complications later.
You may be interested to know that Guide Dogs is part of the Free Wills Network, which offers supporters the opportunity to have a simple Will written or updated for free. There’s no obligation to include a gift to Guide Dogs in your Will. More information on our Free Will Writing Service.
Inheritance Tax (IHT) is a tax that is charged on the portion of your estate that exceeds a certain level at the time of your death. A gift to charity in your Will could reduce your liability. The current IHT threshold (as of June 2011) is £325,000. If the value of your estate, including your home, is above this, you’ll have to pay the current 40% rate of IHT on that additional amount.
Since 6 April 2012 however, your IHT rate will be cut to 36% if you leave at least 10% of your estate to a registered charity.
Everybody’s financial affairs are different, so we always recommend talking to your solicitor or financial advisor.
It’s natural to change your mind. That’s why it’s important to regularly review your Will, to take into account any changes in your life and to Inheritance Tax rules. If you’ve already made a Will, it’s easy to add a gift to a charity by using what's called a 'Codicil' – to find out more, just ask your solicitor.
We strongly recommend you have your Will drafted by a solicitor to ensure your wishes are properly carried out. Here are some examples you may find useful:
Residuary Gift (the remains of your estate after any specific gifts have been distributed, and any debts have been paid):
“I give free of Inheritance Tax (…%) of the residue of my estate to The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association…”
A Pecuniary Gift (a specific sum):
“I give free of Inheritance Tax the sum of...pounds to The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association…”
Then follow with:
“…whose Registered Office is situated at Hillfields, Burghfield Common, Reading, Berkshire RG7 3YG (Registered Charity No. 209617 or SC038979), for the general charitable purposes of the Association, and I declare that the receipt of an authorised official for the time being shall be a good discharge to my executors.”
For a pecuniary gift, you may wish your gift to be adjusted for inflation. We suggest you see a solicitor for suitable wording.
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
A charity registered in England and Wales (209617) and Scotland (SC038979).