Frequently asked questions about gifts in Wills

Everything you need to know about leaving a gift in your Will for Sense. 

Questions about Wills

Why is it important to make a Will?

A legal Will makes sure that your wishes are carried out after you pass away. With a Will, you can give any money and assets you leave behind to the people and causes you care about most.

When should you make a Will?

Everyone over the age of 18 should make a Will, and it’s especially important if you have family to look after. You should also update your Will throughout your life. Having an up-to-date Will gives you the comfort of knowing that your wishes will be carried out.

Can I write my own Will?

Yes, it’s possible to write your own Will, but we don’t recommend it. You could overlook something that will either create confusion or affect the impact of inheritance tax. It’s much simpler to speak to a professional. 

How do I find a solicitor?

If you don’t have a solicitor, the names and addresses of local practices can be found through the Law Society. You can visit the Law Society’s website or phone their enquiry line on 020 7242 1222.

If you’d like to leave a gift for Sense in your Will, you can use the Sense Free Wills service

What are witnesses and who should I choose?

Your Will must be signed and witnessed by two people who are not beneficiaries of the Will (which means you’re not leaving anything to them). The two witnesses should sign in the presence of both you and the other witness. They should record their name, address and occupation along with their signature. 

What are executors and how do I choose?

Executors make sure that your wishes are carried out after you pass away. You can choose a maximum of four executors. It’s recommended that you pick at least two. They must be over 18 years old.

You should choose someone who you feel is reliable – most people choose members of their family. You could also choose someone like your solicitor or accountant (but they might charge you a fee). It’s important to ask the person if they’re prepared to serve as your executor before you formally choose them.

What is inheritance tax and how does it affect my Will?

Inheritance tax is the tax taken from your estate after you pass away before gifts are given to the people named in your Will. 

Inheritance tax is a complex topic and each individual’s tax situation is different, so we always recommend talking to your solicitor when making any changes to your Will. But gifts to registered charities are usually exempt from tax, so gifts in Wills are usually tax-efficient.

Keep up to date on the latest information by visiting the HMRC website.

If I marry, will it affect my current Will?

Yes. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, marriage (or remarriage) will normally invalidate your current Will. It’s important to make a new Will when you marry.

What if I want to cancel my current Will?

You can cancel or “revoke” a Will, but this isn’t necessary if you’re replacing it with a new one. A new Will normally includes wording that cancels any previous Wills, with words such as: “I hereby revoke all previous Wills, codicils and testamentary provisions made by me at any time and declare this to be my last Will.”

What if I lose my Will?

If you lose your Will, it would still be considered legally valid until you executed a new one. Most people ask the solicitor who drew up their Will to keep the original and give them a copy.

Where should I keep my Will?

It isn’t necessary to register your Will with any authority, but you should make sure it’s kept in a safe place. You should also let your executors know where it is so that they can find it easily.  Most people ask the solicitor who drew up their Will to keep the original and give them a copy.

Questions about including Sense in your Will

How do I leave a gift to Sense?

We always suggest visiting your solicitor when making or changing a Will to include a gift to Sense. You could also use our Sense Free Wills service

If you’re thinking about whether to leave us a gift in your Will, you might find it useful to talk to our Legacy Manager, Leesa Mathiesen, by emailing [email protected] or calling 0207 014 9347. Leesa isn’t a solicitor so can’t offer legal advice, can help you understand the difference a gift in your Will can make.

Find out more about leaving a gift in your Will to Sense.

Can I choose which Sense service or area my gift goes to?

Yes, you can. Along with the standard wording, you would simply need to add: “I express the wish for the money to be used for the benefit of [insert name of service or area].”

Alternatively, you can make your gift to Sense as a whole, and we’ll use it where it’s most needed.

Should I make a new Will now if I’ve decided to leave an extra gift to Sense?

If your planned changes are small, such as making a straightforward bequest, it might not be necessary to change the whole document. 

It’s best to get advice from your solicitor, but you might be able to record any changes by adding a codicil. A codicil is an additional document to a Will, making small changes or amends to the original Will. Remember that any codicil must be signed and witnessed in the same way as a full Will to make it legal.

What wording should I use when including a gift to Sense?

For a share of your estate, or residuary gift

A residuary gift is a remainder, or a percentage of the remainder of your estate, once other payments have been made. We suggest this wording:

“I give _______% of my residuary estate to Sense, 101 Pentonville Road, London N1 9LG Registered charity number 289868, to be applied for its general purposes and I declare that the receipt of the finance director or appropriate officer shall be a complete discharge to my trustees.”

For a cash gift, or pecuniary gift

A pecuniary gift is a fixed sum of money. We suggest this wording:

“I give £_______ to Sense, 101 Pentonville Road, London N1 9LG Registered charity number 289868, to be applied for its general purposes and I declare that the receipt of the finance director or appropriate officer shall be a complete discharge to my trustees.”

Questions about the Sense Free Wills service

What is the Sense Free Wills service?

Sense is working with three partners to offer a limited amount of simple free Wills. If your Will is more complicated there might be an additional charge. Your solicitor will let you know about this and give you the choice of whether to continue. 

How can I use the Sense Free Wills service?

Simply fill out the Free Wills service enquiry form and we’ll get back to you.

I already have a Will, can I use the Sense Free Wills service to change it?

Yes, you can have a simple Will updated using the service. Note that if there are complications, there could be an additional charge. If you’re interested in this service, please fill out the Free Will service enquiry form.

What if I can’t find an answer to my question here?

No problem. You can contact our legacies team, by emailing [email protected] or calling 0207 014 9347. They’ll be happy to hear from you!