Chartered Legal Executive comments on Wills and Legacies We had a chat with Local Chartered Legal Executive, Lucy Beck, about the importance of Wills and Legacies. Here is what Lucy said. Why is having a Will important? Most people do understand why it is so important to have a Will, but according to a recent poll over 45% of people do not in fact have one in place! Perhaps it is one of those things that gets put off, we mean to get these things done, but it never happens. You need a Will if you want to choose who is appointed as your personal representative and who will benefit from your estate after you die. The alternative is that without a Will in place, the law will govern who is appointed and who benefits from your estate, these people may not be the people you would like, causing your loved ones that you leave behind some distress. For people who have no relatives your estate could go to the Crown. How do I make a Will and is it expensive? Making a Will is in most cases very straightforward, different providers will charge different amounts. What is important is that it is correctly drawn up and witnessed, so seeking professional advice is always best. Why do people choose to support charities through their Will? Most people have great satisfaction in leaving a gift in their Will to charity. It forms part of their legacy, as they are helping others in need after they themselves have passed on. Currently, gifts to charity are exempt from Inheritance Tax and in addition, where at least 10% of someone’s net estate is left to charity, the rate of Inheritance Tax is reduced to 36% on the rest of the estate, rather than the standard rate of 40%. If a charity has helped you, a relative or close friend, then leaving a gift in your Will to that charity is a way of continuing to support that charity. We give to charity during our lifetime and leaving a gift to charity in your Will after you die is another way to give your support and help others. Do I have to leave all my money to charity? No. When you decide to leave a gift in your Will to charity, you can choose how you want to do this. It could be for a certain amount of money, it could be a particular item, it could be fixed percentage or it could be given in Trust. You can select one or several charities, it is your choice. The size of the gift is your choice too, and charities are grateful for any donation. How do I leave a gift to charity in my Will? There is a simple clause that is inserted into the Will to reflect your wishes of what sort of gift you wish to make to charity. And if you already have a Will, you can still make a gift to charity by updating your Will with a Codicil. A Codicil is an addition to an existing Will that reflects your current wishes. Ask your advisor and these can be added for you. Minstead Trust would like to thank Lucy Beck of Setfords Solicitors and Eco-Wills for writing this blog. Lucy BeckConsultant Chartered Legal Executive and Licensed Conveyancer[email protected] Lucy is currently offering supporters of Minstead Trust a 50% discount off her fees for simple Wills and Codicils. Whilst there is no obligation to leave a gift in your Will to Minstead Trust we hope you will kindly consider doing so. When making a Will or changing an existing Will, please seek your own professional advice and assistance, Minstead Trust is unable to make any recommendation as to your choice of Solicitor. We are of course very grateful if you wish to make a gift in your Will to Minstead Trust; it will support our work for future generations, and make a difference to the lives of people with Learning Disabilities.