Trusts and Foundations
How to leave a legacy
Why make a will?
No one likes to think about their own death, but just a short time spent talking to your solicitor and sorting out your affairs now could prevent uncertainty for those left behind. It will also mean that you, not the Government, will decide what happens to your property.
If you should die without making a will (in legal terms this is called dying intestate), the law will determine how your property (or estate) is divided. This can cause great uncertainty and distress for everyone concerned.
If, however, you make a will, you'll know your loved ones will see your exact wishes being carried out, bringing some comfort during a difficult time.
Thinking about what you have to leave
Before arranging to have a will written, it is worth drawing up a list of your assets (and your debts), which should give you a clearer idea of what your final estate will look like. You could set it out like the one below:
– Cash savings
– Bank/building society/savings account
– Life policies
– Pension funds
– Chattels – household contents, jewellery and so on.
– Other debts
Download a template here.
For more help and advice on including a charitable legacy in your will, and calculating how much your estate is worth, you can visit the Remember A Charity website, www.rememberacharity.org.uk.
Remember A Charity hopes to significantly increase the income of charities of all causes and sizes, through demonstrating to charity supporters that this is a way for them to support their favourite cause whilst ensuring that they and their dependants are adequately provided for.
Choosing who you wish to benefit from your estate
You can choose to share your estate between anyone you like – your spouse, family or friends. You could also leave a legacy to a charity such as Birmingham Royal Ballet, after your family and friends have all been properly provided for.
Download a form that will help you decide what you want to give to whom here.
Types of legacy
There are a few different kinds of gift you can leave in your will. The most common are described below.
A gift of the remainder of the estate after all other bequests have been made and debts cleared is called a residuary bequest. You may wish to leave either all or part of your residuary to charity.
A gift of a fixed sum of money in your will is called a pecuniary bequest. The value of pecuniary legacies will decrease over time, as the cost of living increases. You may wish to consult a solicitor about protecting the value of this gift by linking it to the Retail Price Index.
A particular named item left as a gift in your will is known as a specific bequest - for example, property, shares, paintings or piece of jewellery. If items are bequested to Birmingham Royal Ballet, they are sold so that their proceeds can be utilised.
Wording your will
Useful wordings to take with you to your solicitor if you decide to leave a legacy to Birmingham Royal Ballet.
The suggested wording to leave a residuary legacy is:
'Subject to the payment of my debts, funeral and testamentary expenses, I give (the whole/ (insert percentage value) of my estate not otherwise disposed of by this my will to Birmingham Royal Ballet of Thorp Street, Birmingham B5 4AU, registered charity number 1061012, for the general purposes of the Charity*, and I declare that the receipt of their Treasurer or other proper officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge.'
The suggested wording to leave a pecuniary legacy (specific sum) is:
'I give free of tax to Birmingham Royal Ballet of Thorp Street, Birmingham B5 4AU, registered charity number 1061012, the sum of £________ for the general purposes of the Charity*, and I declare that the receipt of their Treasurer or other proper officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge.'
The suggested wording to leave a specific item is:
'I give to Birmingham Royal Ballet of Thorp Street, Birmingham B5 4AU, registered charity number 1061012, absolutely (write in here whatever you wish to give) for the general purposes of the Charity*, and I declare that the receipt of their Treasurer or other proper officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge.'
*Should you wish your legacy to be used for a specific purpose, please contact us. We would be delighted to discuss with you the full range of work that requires support and can suggest suitable wording to ensure we can carry out your wishes accordingly.
Updating your will
Keeping your will current is just as important as making one in the first place. It really is the only way to ensure that your final estate is distributed to your beneficiaries in exactly the way that you want it to be.
A will should be reviewed every few years to reflect any alteration in your personal circumstances or wishes. Your solicitor will, on your request, amend your will by either drawing up a new will or producing a codicil (a supplementary document).
Download further information about adding a codicil here.
Generally you should review your will every time a 'significant life event' happens. For example if:
– you marry
– you have a child/grandchild
– there is a death in your family
– there is a change in your financial circumstances
– there are major changes in the types or rates of taxation
– you are going to live abroad
– you are moving to shared accommodation
– you separate or divorce from your spouse or partner
If you have decided to leave a gift to Birmingham Royal Ballet in your will, please let us know.
We would like to have the opportunity to thank you, and with your permission, to keep you in touch with our work.
May we reassure you that any pledge you make is NOT legally binding and that any information you will provide will be treated in strictest confidence.
Thank you for your gift. It is very much appreciated.
Find out more...
Request our will-making guide