Someone is diagnosed with blood cancer in the UK every 20 minutes. By leaving a gift to DKMS in your Will, you can make a positive impact on generations to come, helping more people with blood cancer to have a second chance of life.
Why make a Will?
Whatever your age, an up-to-date, professionally written will is very important. Making a Will is the only way you can be sure that your wishes will be followed after you die. If you don’t make one, the law decides how your estate is passed on, which may not be in line with your wishes. Not only that, Inheritance Tax legislation means that if you don’t prepare properly, a substantial part of what you leave behind may go to the state.
Making a Will
You can leave a gift to DKMS by making a new Will or by changing an existing one, it is relatively straightforward. While you can do it yourself, it is probably best to consult a solicitor so that your Will is legally valid and your wishes can be met in full.
There are three different types of gift you can leave to DKMS...
Changing a Will
If you already have a Will written, it is very easy to amend it to give a gift to DKMS. As with writing a new Will, you should consult a solicitor. You can change an existing Will by adding what is called a ‘codicil’ to the Will. This is usually just a single sheet detailing simple changes to be made to an existing Will. In some cases you may need to change a Will to reflect your changing circumstances such as marriage, divorce or the birth of children or grandchildren. You can change a Will as often as you like.
• A Pecuniary Gift – This is a specific sum of money;
• A Residuary Gift – This is a percentage of what’s left of your estate after all your other gifts to family and friends are taken care of;
• A Specific Bequest – Leaving DKMS a specific item, for example an antique, stocks and shares or some property;
Discuss with your partner or your solicitor what the most appropriate option is for you and your circumstances. You must also choose at least one executor to sort out your affairs after your death. You can ask responsible friends or relatives, or a professional such as a solicitor or financial advisor. It is entirely up to you but do approach them while writing your Will; it is a big responsibility.
The Inheritance Tax threshold for 2015-16 is currently set at £325,000 and tax is payable on any amount over that. However, legacies to a charity such as DKMS are usually exempt from Inheritance Tax and can also reduce your tax liability by being deducted from the amount your estate is worth over the threshold before the tax is calculated. Your solicitor can give you guidance on the tax aspects of making a Will.
Updating a Will
Once written, a Will should be updated to reflect your changing circumstances, such as marriage, divorce or the birth of children or grandchildren. Your wishes may change over time and it is important that your Will reflects this.
How to Find a Solicitor
You can find a solicitor in your area to help you make a Will through the Law Society. They can be contacted at: (020) 7242 1222 or by visiting their website: www.lawsociety.org.uk
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