How to leave a gift in your Will

Has a charity helped you or someone you care about? Find out how you can thank them by leaving a gift in your Will.

Gifts in Wills are vital to the work of most charities. 

After you’ve taken care of loved ones, you may wish to leave a gift in your Will to your favourite charity and pass on something wonderful to future generations.

We all know charities rely on donations to keep going but It’s a little-known fact that many charities wouldn’t survive without gifts in Wills. 

Charities work tirelessly to make a positive difference to the world we live in. 

By remembering your favourite charities with a gift in your Will, you’re ensuring that their good work lives on. 

The donation can be as small or large as you like. Every gift makes a big difference and will be gratefully received by the charity or charities you choose.

You can use our Find a charity tool to search for and discover more about charities that you might like to leave a gift to. 

How to leave a gift in your Will to charity

Leaving a gift in your Will to charity is easier than you might think – just follow these steps:

Step 1 - choose which charity you want to include in your Will

You may already know which charity or charities you want to leave a gift to in your Will. If, however, you're looking for inspiration or you want to learn more about other charities you could leave a gift to, visit our ‘Find a charity’ database. Here you can search by cause or location and discover why gifts in Wills are so vital for each charity. 

A good place to start when deciding on a charity is asking yourself if a charity has helped you or someone you love in the past. Or there might be a local charity that’s made a huge impact in your community.

Most people choose a charity with a cause close to their heart because they want to protect something they feel passionate about for future generations.

Step 2 - get the charity details

Make a note of the charity name, address and registered charity number.

Use our charity finder to find these details or search the Charity Commission website.

It’s very important to make sure the charity number is correct to avoid any confusion, as lots of charities have similar names.

If you're including more than one charity, include details for each one.

Step 3 - Decide what type of gift you want to leave to charity

There are three different types of gift you can leave to charity in your Will:

  • Pecuniary gifts - a set amount of money
  • Residuary gifts - a percentage, or the whole, of your estate (what’s left after other specified gifts, costs, and tax)
  • Specific gifts - a specific object, asset or property
Step 4 - read our guide on making a Will

Take a look at our guide on making a Will for advice on what you need to consider when writing your Will. There are various ways in which a will can be created, so it’s important you understand the steps that can be taken. 

Step 5 - contact your solicitor or Will writer

Provide your solicitor or Will writer with details of your chosen charity. They will need the full charity name, charity address and registered charity number. 

Act today to make a difference tomorrow

From finding a Will-writing service to identifying a charity that you're passionate about, we'll help you with everything you need to get started.

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Frequently asked questions

We answer all your questions about leaving a gift to charity in your Will.

Your questions, answered

Updating an existing Will

If you want to leave a gift to charity but you’ve already made a Will, that’s not a problem – there are a couple of ways you can change it.

1. Write a new Will

The simplest way to include a charity is to write a new Will. Once written, any Wills you've made in the past become void. In fact, most Wills will start by reciting that you’re writing a Will and that you’re revoking previous Wills. Visit our guide on updating your Will for more information. 

You can write a new Will with a professional advisor. Find a solicitor or Will writer near you with our database of 860 qualified and trusted professionals. You can also use our find a charity tool to search for registered names and charity numbers of our member charities.

2. Codicils

The other way to leave a gift to charity is to write a codicil, which is a document used to make changes to an existing Will.

It’s used as a way to make simple amendments like adding a charity, changing a gift amount or adding an executor. This is all quite straightforward but problems can occur if you ever want to cancel the Will in the future.

When you cancel a Will that contains a codicil, the codicil does not get cancelled automatically, so when you write a new Will it can create inconsistencies and legal problems. To avoid this, make sure that any new Will clearly states that you are revoking all Wills and codicils previously made.

A solicitor or Will writer can help with writing a codicil.

Find out more 

For more information, view our guide on updating your Will

You can also watch a short video featuring Janet Ellis, who explains how to change your Will.

Find a charity

Has a charity made a difference to you or someone you care about? Or do you want to discover a new one that's fighting for a cause you're passionate about? 

Browse our directory of over 200 of the UK's favourite charities, and find out why gifts in Wills are so important to them.

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