Before visiting your solicitor
It is possible to make a Will yourself but using a solicitor or Will writer is much easier and makes sure everything is legal so that your instructions will be carried out as you wish. They will also be able to advise you on any tax implications.
You can find a solicitor at: www.rememberacharity.org.uk/making-a-will/solicitor-finder/ or http://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk or by calling the Law Society on 020 7242 1222.
Or you can enquire at your bank or ask an accountant. These days the options have widened and many types of professional advisors can help. Get a few quotes – a simple Will can cost less than £100.
If you already have a Will, and would like to include a gift to Combat Stress, you can ask your solicitor to draw up a codicil. This is a simple and inexpensive process. You can find a codicil form to download from this webpage.
If you are planning on visiting your solicitor, it may save you time to consider these points:
1. List your assets and their value:
- home and any other property
- household effects (eg antiques)
- items of particular value (eg jewellery)
- savings in banks and building societies
- shares/investments/premium bonds
- insurance policies
2. List your liabilities, such as an outstanding mortgage, bills, overdrafts and any debts.
3. Make a list of the people you want to benefit, including their full names and addresses.
Family – you will need to provide details of your family and status. Anyone who depends on you financially can ask a court to review your Will, so you will need to give your solicitor all the relevant details.
Guardians – you may need to appoint a legal guardian/s for your children if they are under 18, or instructions for the care of any dependant relatives. Also consider the care of any pets you have.
Other wishes – do you have any particular wishes for your funeral? Do you have any other wishes such as organ donor registration?
Combat Stress - If you decide to leave money to Combat Stress, be sure to include our full details: I give [% of my residuary estate] / [£X,XXX specific amount] / [object] to Combat Stress (registered charity number England and Wales 206002, registered charity number in Scotland SC038828), Tyrwhitt House, Oaklawn Road, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 0BX, for its general charitable purposes and direct that the receipt of the Treasurer or other duly appointed officer shall be sufficient discharge to my Executors.
4. Decide who should be your executors. It is wise to appoint two, in case one is not able to take on the responsibilities when the time comes. You could choose family members (it is possible to be both an executor and a beneficiary). It is a good idea to check that the people you have chosen are happy to take on the responsibility. On a practical note, it is usually advisable to select one executor who is younger than you. A professional advisor, such as a solicitor, can also be an executor, although they will charge a fee. Unfortunately Combat Stress is unable to act as executor for any Wills.
Completing these four steps will prepare you for the questions your solicitor will ask and make the process of drafting your Will relatively straightforward.
Different kinds of gift you can leave
There are three main types of legacy that you can leave to support our work:
A residuary legacy is a bequest of all or a percentage of what is left of your estate after all other payments have been made. It is a good way of dividing an estate between the people and causes that are important to you. It can be as small as 1% or as large as 100%, or anywhere in between. It can also be more beneficial to charities, since inflation won’t lower its value. This is because it remains proportional to your estate, whereas a fixed sum of £1,000 would be worth less 10 to 20 years down the line.
A pecuniary legacy is simply a gift of money. You can add a pecuniary legacy to your existing Will using a simple codicil document. It is worth bearing in mind that this type of gift will decrease in value over time as the cost of living increases. So it may be worth reviewing the gifts in your Will occasionally.
A reversionary legacy, also known as a life interest, is a gift to your loved ones of the right to use an asset such as a house or to receive other benefit from an asset (such as the income) during his or her lifetime. When they die, the asset ‘reverts’ to the ultimate beneficiary, which could be Combat Stress.
You can also leave a specific gift. This could be anything from a piece of jewellery or property to shares. If you would like to give in this way, please contact Sarah Seddon to talk through your wishes at Sarah.Seddon@combatstress.org.uk or call on 01372 587144.