Leaving a gift in your Will - frequently asked questions

Hutchinson's Bank (credit Daniel Greenwood)Hutchinson's Bank (credit Daniel Greenwood)

FAQs on leaving a gift in your Will to London Wildlife Trust

Here are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about leaving a gift in your Will. If your query is not covered below, please email cgale@wildlondon.org.uk

1. Why is it important to have a Will?

By having a valid and up to date Will in place, you can ensure that your nearest and dearest are provided for, as well as helping charitable causes that are close to your heart. If you die without making a Will the State decides, and this could result in your estate not going where you would have wished. For instance, your husband, wife or partner may not automatically receive all of your estate.

2. Why should I use a solicitor?

Using a solicitor is the best way to make sure that your wishes are followed. 'Do it yourself' Wills, including ones you can buy in shops, can cause problems if details are left out or wording is not correct. These problems are often expensive to fix and could even mean your Will is invalid.

3. Can you recommend a solicitor?

So that we remain impartial, London Wildlife Trust cannot recommend a particular solicitor. For help finding a local solicitor please refer to the following organisations:

4. What types of gifts can I incorporate into my Will?

  • Pecuniary, where you leave a defined amount of money e.g. £500
  • Specific, where you leave a specific item eg land, property, a painting
  • Residuary, where you leave a defined percentage of the remainder of your estate (once all debts and other gifts have been honoured) eg 50%

5. How will my gift be used?

Your gift will be used to help us keep London green and wild, ensuring that London’s wildlife is protected for future generations to enjoy. Legacies are usually unrestricted gifts, allowing the Trust to use them wherever the need is greatest at that time.

6. Why would I want to leave a gift in my Will to London Wildlife Trust?

Making a Will is highly personal so there are many answers to this question. Some common reasons include:

  • A desire to protect London’s wildlife and natural spaces for future generations
  • An opportunity to give more generously than was possible in your lifetime
  • Reducing or eliminating inheritance tax liability

7. Can I restrict what my gift will be used to pay for?

London Wildlife Trust benefits most from gifts that are left with no restriction, allowing us to use the money where it is needed most when it becomes available. Nevertheless, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss your wildlife interests, which will be taken into consideration alongside current conservation priorities at the time your gift is received.

We do, however, appreciate that some prefer to restrict how their gift should be used. If this is the case, we would recommend that you contact us in the first instance to discuss how appropriate your restriction might be (given the timescales involved with gifts in Wills). In such instances, you might also consider including a reference in your Will on how you would prefer your gift to be used if we cannot comply with your original intentions. This will help ensure your wishes are honoured and that London’s wildlife will benefit from your generosity as planned.

8. Can I leave land or property to the Trust?

Yes, some of the land we manage was bequeathed to us in a Will. But if we are to look after the land properly there is a management cost to consider. For this reason it is best to also include an endowment in your Will, if possible, to help us with the ongoing conservation work that may be required.

9. What effect will my gift have on my inheritance tax status?

Any gift you leave to charity in your Will is deducted before your estate is valued for tax purposes. This means that a gift to the Trust will reduce the amount of inheritance tax your beneficiaries will need to pay. Some people even choose to donate the value of their estate above the inheritance tax threshold to charity, meaning that no inheritance tax at all is payable.

10. Can I name London Wildlife Trust as an executor?

Unfortunately, we are not allowed to act as executors.

11. What if my circumstances change?

It is a good idea to review your Will from time to time to ensure it reflects any changes in your family or personal circumstances, such as marriage or divorce, the birth of children or grandchildren, or coming into an inheritance. It is also important to check if your estate is affected by inheritance tax because legislation changes over the years.

12. I already have a Will - is it easy to update it?

Updating your Will is a simple task and small changes or additions can be made easily using an instruction known as a Codicil. The Codicil can be added to your existing Will without requiring a full re-write. We recommend that you seek professional advice to ensure it is legally binding.

13. If I have left a gift to London Wildlife Trust in my Will, should I tell you?

We encourage people to let us know of their legacy pledge. Such information is by no means legally binding, nor do we expect you to disclose financial details. However, such information enables us to very broadly gauge long-term support, whilst also enabling us to thank you properly and keep you informed of the work of the charity. You can contact us using our online form.

14. What if I change my mind?

You are free to change your mind at any time. Letting us know you plan to leave a legacy gift to London Wildlife Trust doesn't commit you to doing so. However, it would be really helpful if you could tell us if you do change your mind.

15. What information will my solicitor need?

To ensure that the charity ultimately benefits from your gift, your solicitor will need the following information:

Registered Name: London Wildlife Trust
Registered Address: Dean Bradley House, 52 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AF
Registered Charity Number: 283895

We recommend the following wording: "I give London Wildlife Trust [the sum of £x or x% share of my residuary estate] for its general charitable purposes and I declare that the receipt of the treasurer or other authorised officer shall be full and sufficient discharge for the said legacy."