How important is a will?
Very. If you pass away without leaving a will, there are certain rules that dictate how your money, property or possessions should be allocated (this is known as ‘intestacy’). This may result in your estate not being distributed in the way that you would have wished.
How much does a will cost?
The average cost of writing a simple single will is around £100, depending on where you live and the solicitor you use.
The charges for drawing up a will vary between solicitors and the complexity of the will. You may have access to legal advice as part of an insurance policy, which might cover the costs of a solicitor preparing or checking a will.
Can I write my own will?
Yes. It’s perfectly legal for you to do so. But we recommend using a solicitor to draw up or check a will you have written to make sure it accurately reflects your wishes and is legally valid. Without a legal background it can be easy to make mistakes and, if there are errors in the will, it can cause delays in your estate being settled. Using a solicitor will ensure that any possible misunderstandings and disputes are resolved.
A qualified solicitor can guide you through any unfamiliar legal language and any issues in Probate Law, Inheritance and Capital Gains Tax that may affect your estate.
If you don’t have a solicitor, The Law Society has lots of information on how to choose a solicitor.
When should I write a will?
We recommend organising your will as soon as possible. If you already have a will, you should review it regularly, particularly when your personal circumstances change; for example when you get married or divorced, when you have new additions to the family, or when you move house.
What are the tax advantages of leaving money to charity?
If your estate is subject to Inheritance Tax (IHT), it is payable at a rate of 40 per cent. However, by making some simple plans, the amount of Inheritance Tax payable when your will becomes active can be significantly reduced. For example, gifts left to UK-registered charities, such as King’s College Hospital Charity, are exempt from Inheritance Tax. The gift will be deducted from your estate before the tax is calculated, and so reduce the amount of IHT payable.
There’s another benefit for you when you leave a gift to charity in your will. Whenyou leave a gift to one or more charities in your will that amount up to 10 per cent or more of your chargeable net estate, the IHT rate on the whole of your estate will be reduced from 40 per cent to 36 per cent.
Please check the HM Revenue & Customs website for up to date information.
I would like my gift to be used to purchase a piece of equipment or fund a specific area of research. How do I do this?
We’ll always follow your wishes, but in the future, the medical landscape may have changed in terms of equipment and treatments. In order for the charity to be able to benefit from your gift, it would be helpful if such requests are stated as a preference rather than a condition in your will.
You can make specific arrangements and get further information by contacting us.
Do I need to tell you my intentions?
If you decide to make a gift in your will we’d be grateful if you could let us know. We’d like the opportunity to thank you and keep you up to date with what’s happening at the hospital. This is a very personal and often private decision and you’re under no obligation to let us know of your intentions. Telling us about the gift in your will is not binding in any way and you can change your mind at any point.
Contact us for answers to any more questions you have about leaving a gift in your will.