Making a will
For many people, it is important to them that upon their death, their estate is distributed to family, close friends and the charitable causes that they passionately support.
Having a will ensures that your wishes are carried out.
Leaving a legacy gift in your will
In this section, we explain how to leave a gift in your will, the types of legacy gift you can leave and how this can potentially reduce the amount of inheritance tax payable against your estate.
We recommend that you speak to a solicitor when making or amending your will.
When you leave a legacy gift in your will, it is not binding and you can change your mind at any point. If you already have a written will but are considering making an amendment or addition, you may well be able to do so by writing a codicil rather than re-writing a new will.
Common types of legacy gift
A pecuniary gift is a gift of a fixed amount of money.
If you are considering making a pecuniary gift to the MCF, we suggest the following wording in your will:
I give to the Masonic Charitable Foundation, Registered Charity Number 1164703, of 60 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5AZ, (hereinafter called the MCF) the sum of £ ____ and I direct that (i) the proceeds may be used for the general purposes of the MCF and (ii) a receipt signed by a person for the time being authorised by the Trustees of the MCF shall be a good and sufficient discharge to my Executor.
A residual gift is a gift of all or part of your net estate.
If you are considering making a residual gift to the MCF, we suggest the following wording in your will:
I give to the Masonic Charitable Foundation, Registered Charity Number 1164703, of 60 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5AZ, (hereinafter called the MCF) ___% of the residue of my net estate absolutely and I direct that (i) the proceeds may be used for the general purposes of the MCF and (ii) a receipt signed by a person for the time being authorised by the Trustees of the MCF shall be a good and sufficient discharge to my Executor.
A specific gift is a gift that need not be in the form of money.
This gift allows you to leave specific assets such as property, stocks and shares or other valuables if you so wish.
Considerations when writing your will
When writing your will, simple wording errors can cause confusion and delay in carrying out your wishes. The MCF always strongly advises that legal guidance from a solicitor is sought before writing or amending a will.
Make a list of your assets
In order to work out what you wish to leave, you first need to understand what assets you have to leave as your estate. Make a list of all your assets such as property, cash, investments, vehicles and any other valuable possessions. You will also need to consider any of your potential liabilities such as any outstanding mortgage or loans.
Ensure that you leave your dependants sufficient funds
You may choose anyone, any organisation, or any charity you wish to benefit from your will. These people or charities will become your beneficiaries. If you have any dependants you should be aware that the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 requires that, wherever possible, you should leave your dependants sufficient funds.
Choose your executor carefully
An executor is the person or persons responsible for handling your estate and making sure that your wishes are carried out after your death. An executor’s duties include ensuring that all debts, bills, funeral expenses and taxes are paid from your estate, and that all your beneficiaries receive what you intended them to inherit. Therefore it is important to choose your executor or executors carefully. You can choose a friend or family member (even if they are a beneficiary) but many people prefer a professional executor such as a solicitor. You can even choose a selection of both personal and professional executors.
Store your will safely
Once your will is properly signed and witnessed, it is a legal document. It is important to store your will safely and inform your executor where it can be located. If your will was prepared by a solicitor, it is usual for them to store the original whilst supplying you with a copy.
Make sure your will is up to date
Finally, life moves on and significant events come and go. It’s vital to review your will occasionally to ensure it is still an accurate reflection of your wishes. For instance, if you move house or get married, divorced, have children, or someone mentioned in your will dies. Speak to a solicitor about the simplest way to revise your will quickly and cost effectively.
Please be aware that the law in Scotland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Isles operates differently. If this is relevant to you we can provide limited guidance but strongly recommend you consult a solicitor who specialises in this area.
By remembering the MCF in your will you may be able to reduce the taxable value of your assets and lower the amount of inheritance tax (IHT) due on your estate.
If the total value of your estate is above the inheritance tax threshold, the amount over the threshold could be subject to IHT. Married couples and civil partners can combine their tax allowances which allow the surviving spouse or civil partner to benefit from any unused portion of their spouses or partner’s allowance as well as their own. If you leave your main residence to your son, daughter or grandchildren, your IHT threshold will increase.
The IHT threshold changes from time to time so make sure you know the most recent threshold.
Free will-writing service
To make the process of writing a will as easy as possible, we are collaborating with The Goodwill Partnership to offer a home visit or over the phone will writing service leading to a free basic will.
You can be visited by a trained professional in the comfort of your own home on a date and time to suit you. Your instructions will be passed to a panel solicitor (a member of the Law Society) to write up your will, who can also provide additional legal advice together with storage of your signed will.
Call 01492 510340 or book an appointment online. Please use the discount code MCF001 to qualify for a basic free will.