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Frequently asked questions about leaving a legacy

Some people make a will at a significant milestone in their lives, such as having a child, moving house or because of illness. We always encourage seeking advice from a solicitor when making a will. Here are a few points to get you started:

Do I really need a solicitor?

As a will is a legal document, we recommend getting a solicitor's advice as you draw up your will, to make sure it is accurate and avoids mistakes. However, not seeking advice will not make a will invalid.

How much will it cost?

This varies from one solicitor to another. During Free Wills Month in March and October, some solicitors offer their free will-making services in return for a donation to charity.

How can I find a solicitor?

You may already be entitled to a free will-writing service via your trade union, employer or home or car insurance. Here are some useful links:

www.lawsociety.org.uk/for-the-public/commonlegal-issues/making-a-will/ includes a ‘find a solicitor' service

You can locate a Christian solicitor via the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship www.lawcf.org or the Association of Christian Law Firms www.aclf.org.uk

What wording should I use when considering making a gift to the Methodist Church?

To give a share of your estate:

“I give x% of my residuary estate free of all taxes to the Methodist Church (registered charity number 1132208) for its general purposes and I declare that the receipt(s) of the Finance Officer or other duly authorised officer shall be a sufficient discharge to my executors.”

If you prefer to give a fixed sum of money:

“I give the sum of £x (write the amount in brackets out in words, for clarity) free of all taxes to the Methodist Church (registered charity number 1132208) for its general purposes and I declare that the receipt(s) of the Finance Officer or other duly authorised officer shall be a sufficient discharge to my executors.”

Can I decide where my legacy will be spent?

If you have a particular area of interest that you'd like to benefit, please contact us to discuss your intentions. We'll always try to accommodate people's wishes but sometimes leaving a gift to a specific project or country can cause difficulties in the future, especially if the project has concluded or if we've stopped working in that country by the time the testator passes away. If you can let us know what you'd like to achieve through your gift, we'll do our utmost to help you.

I already have a will. How do I change my will?

Congratulations that you have already made provisions for the people and causes you care about most! Minor amendments can be made by using a codicil form. A legal professional can advise whether or not you should use a codicil and the drafting of it.

What are the tax implications of gifts in wills?

All gifts to charities in wills are tax free. Gifts to the Methodist Church and other charities are deducted from the value of your estate when inheritance tax is calculated.

Why should I consider giving a share of my estate rather than a lump sum?

While any gift in a legacy is much appreciated by the Church, giving a share of your estate rather than a lump sum protects that gift for the future.

  1. Your gift is more inflation-proof. A gift of £1,000 today may be worth a lot less in 30 years, whereas a gift of 5% of your estate will hold its relative value.
  2. Dividing your estate into shares means you don't have to worry about re-writing your will, if for example, the actual amount diminishes through costs of retirement care, etc.
  3. For large estates liable to inheritance tax, leaving 10% (or more) to charity will give you further tax benefits.