Your questions answered

What type of gift is best?

A courtroom hammer on a white cloth

Any gift you give to Sense will make a difference.

A residuary gift - what is left of the estate after all other legacies, tax debts and costs have been paid - is popular with many supporters because it takes care of others first and remains proportional to the value of your estate by keeping pace with inflation. But any gift, large or small, can make a huge difference.

Who should act as an executor of my Will?

Executors are the people who will carry out your wishes in accordance with your Will. You can appoint anyone you like- perhaps a close friend or family member- but make sure you ask them first. Some people prefer to appoint a professional executor, like a bank or solicitor, but we advise you to be aware of the amount they’ll charge for this service before you decide.

Do I need to draw up a new Will?

If you do not wish to alter your existing Will other than to include a gift to Sense, you can amend your Will by preparing a document called a Codicil. We recommend that you consult a solicitor to ensure that the Codicil is valid and your wishes will take effect. By using our suggested wording (pdf), you will ensure that your gift is valid.

How do I choose my solicitor?

Details of solicitors in your area specialising in Wills can be found by searching the Law Society website www.lawsociety.org.uk or calling their general enquiries line on 020 7242 1222.

When deciding on a solicitor, we suggest that you ask how much they would charge for preparing your Will or Codicil and for dealing with your estate if appointed as executor.

When receiving gifts in Wills, our team works closely with executors to ensure that your wishes are honoured. This includes monitoring the level of fees charged by solicitors for acting in the administration of your estate.

Can I save tax by leaving a gift to Sense?

A gift to Sense in your Will is tax-exempt and this may save some of the tax your executors would otherwise have to pay. However, as tax is a complex area of law, we recommend you take specialist independent advice.

What is Inheritance Tax?

Inheritance Tax is the tax payable on the estate you leave in your Will. Currently, the first £325,000* of your estate’s value is completely tax-free, and anything above that amount is taxed at 40 per cent*.

Consider this practical example

If you were to leave an estate worth £340,000 everything over £325,000 will be eligible for inheritance tax, in this case that’s £15,000. At the current rate of 40 per cent* you would pay £6,000 tax on the £15,000.

However if you gave a gift of £10,000 to Sense, being a charitable donation, that gift would be exempt from any Inheritance Tax. So now only £5,000 of the £15,000 would be liable for Inheritance Tax, or £2,000.

* Rates of Inheritance Tax quoted here are valid up to April 2017. However, rates can vary from year to year, so to find out more about inheritance tax and current rates, please visit the HMRC website.

As tax is a complex area of law, we recommend you speak to an independent financial advisor or solicitor about the Inheritance Tax implications for your estate- especially if you intend to leave substantial sums.

A properly drafted Will can help reduce the amount of tax payable, and increase the amount of your assets that go to your loved ones and chosen charities.

We’re here to give you all the help you need

You’ll find information to help you make or amend your Will on the following pages. But if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Legacy team.

You can reach them by telephone on 0300 330 9257.  You can also email legacy@sense.org.uk

If you prefer, you can also write directly to:

Legacy team
Sense
101 Pentonville Road
London
N1 9LG

First published: Monday 28 May 2012
Updated: Tuesday 12 July 2016