No-one is immortal, but our beliefs and values CAN live forever and it is a very powerful thing to know that by reaching out after our death, we can touch the lives of others and directly affect the quality of those lives.
Simply put, a legacy is a gift, left in a Will. They are very important to us and during the last financial year, gifts in Wills contributed 22% towards our running costs. This means that much of the work we carry out here is only made possible because of generous and caring supporters investing in the future of Bury Hospice.
A gift in your Will could be a fixed sum of money, furniture, property, shares or a specific item, such as a piece of jewellery. It could also be the remainder of your estate after taking care of family and friends, debts and expenses.
Whatever you choose to leave us, a gift in your Will to Bury Hospice will help people to live well until they die.
Making a Will is one of those things that most of us keep putting off and we tell ourselves that we don’t have time or that we don’t have much to leave, or even that it’s not necessary - any excuse we can think of really, but the truth is, no-one wants to think about dying, so we lock the thoughts away at the back of our minds and over two thirds of us never get round to doing anything about it.
The only way you can be sure that your last wishes will be respected and followed is by making a legally valid Will, because without one, part or all of your estate may go to people who you never intended to benefit and those you did intend to benefit could be left with nothing, creating a lot of stress within the family at an already difficult time.
Not only that, depending on your circumstances when you die, the state could take a large part of what you leave behind if you die ‘intestate’. Even if you have written your Will, the experts recommend you should review it after five years or any major life changes, such as marriage, divorce, children or grandchildren, but still, so many of us just don’t get around to doing anything about it.
None of us want our families to face difficulty and hardship after we are gone but that’s exactly what can happen if they are left to sort out our affairs because we didn’t get around to it ourselves.
Making or updating your Will doesn’t have to be difficult or cost the earth, but it will give you peace of mind.
Did you know? That if you die without making a Will and have no next of kin, everything you own could go to the state?
1. A legally valid Will ensures that your loved ones can sort everything out when you die without any additional stress or worry.
2. If you don’t write your Will, all that you own could be shared out by the state and that, almost certainly, would not reflect your last wishes.
3. If you have children or financial dependents, or you want an individual like a friend, or an organisation like a charity, to benefit from your estate but they are not part of your immediate family, it is especially important to make sure that you write your Will.
4. When creating your Will, tax efficiency is also an important consideration, because depending on your circumstances, if your estate is over worth over £325,000 anything over and above this amount could be liable for Inheritance Tax at 40%. A charitable gift in your Will could reduce the value of your estate and your tax obligation or take it out of the Inheritance Tax bracket altogether.
All gifts to charity are exempt from Inheritance Tax, so Bury Hospice will pay no tax on anything you leave to us in your Will, which means we will receive the full benefit of anything you want us to have. As the value of any charitable gift you leave to us is deducted before your estate is valued, it could take your estate below the Inheritance Tax threshold. In addition to this, if you leave 10% of your net estate to charity, Inheritance Tax on the rest of your estate will be charged at 36% instead of 40%. The standard Inheritance Tax rate is 40% and is only charged on the part of your estate that is above the threshold. Inheritance Tax is complicated and best discussed with your solicitor. For more information, visit the HMRC website: www.gov.uk/inheritance-tax or contact the Probate and Inheritance Tax helpline on 0300 123 1072.
Amending your Will does not necessarily mean making a new Will and for uncomplicated amendments, it can be simply done by adding a Codicil. A Codicil is a separate legal document witnessed in its own right and you can discuss this with your solicitor if you wish to amend your Will to include a gift to Bury Hospice. For anything complicated, you may have to consider making a new Will and your solicitor will be able to provide you with guidance.
Your Will is legally valid as long as you leave instructions about your estate and how it will be shared out, you have made your own decision and were not put under any pressure and that you signed and dated your Will in the presence of two independent adult witnesses.
After your death, your Will tells people two very important things; firstly, who will inherit your money, property and possessions, and secondly, who is in charge of your estate and responsible for carrying out your instructions. This person(s) is known as your executor. You can also use your Will to leave instructions for your burial or cremation.
Did you know? That marriage automatically revokes a Will, and leaves it invalid? It is also a common mistake to think that dying without having made a Will is not a problem, because everything will automatically go to a husband, wife or civil partner, but this is by no means certain.