Here are answers to some of the things we’re most often asked about gifts in Wills.
Leaving a gift in your will FAQs
Is inheritance tax payable on gifts in Wills?
There is no inheritance tax on gifts to charities, whatever the value of your estate. However, gifts to family and other beneficiaries may be liable to inheritance tax if the value of your estate exceeds the maximum threshold (known as the nil rate band) as set by the Chancellor.
I’ve already made a Will, is it too late to remember Samaritans?
A legal form called a Codicil can be used to add or amend any existing wishes in your Will. A Codicil needs to be signed and witnessed. We recommend that you consult a solicitor when drawing up a Codicil, to ensure that any new wishes do not invalidate your existing Will. If you wish to make several changes it is often better to make a new Will. Please refer to the Codicil form and guidance notes (PDF).
I can only afford a small amount, is it worth it?
We’re always very grateful to receive gifts – whatever their size. Over 15% of our voluntary income comes from gifts in Wills. The total is made up of many gifts, both large and small. Each one is valuable and makes a difference to the number of people we can help.
What happens if my circumstances change, or I change my mind?
If your wishes change in future, you can amend your Will to reflect those changes (see above). You don’t need to tell us if you choose to change a gift in your Will to Samaritans. You’re also not obliged to let us know if you change your address but, if you do, we can continue to keep you up to date with our work and the ways in which supporters like you are helping to change lives for the better.
What about my family? I want to ensure that they’re cared for in future.
It is of course possible to look after your family and friends as well as remembering the causes you care about. Occasionally, someone leaves all their estate to charities, but it’s far more common for a charity to be one of several beneficiaries, including family.
Can I choose to leave a gift to a Samaritans branch?
If you would like your gift to go to a specific branch, you can express your wishes in your Will. If you do give specific instructions, we recommend that you add ‘without a legally binding obligation’. This extra wording is a precaution should the branch no longer exist, or if the branch wishes to use some of the funds for projects that benefit all branches. We will always do our utmost to respect your wishes but there’s a risk the charity may not legally be able to benefit from your Will without this wording.
What details do I need to include if I choose to name Samaritans in my Will?
The standard wording should include our charity name, main office address and our registered charity numbers:
Samaritans, The Upper Mill, Kingston Road, Ewell KT17 2AF Registered charity number in England and Wales 219432 and in Scotland SC040604.
For the full wording, please request a copy of our Gifts in Wills booklet.
How much of Samaritans’ voluntary income is spent on administration costs?
Samaritans strives to keep administration costs as low as possible, so we can increase the amount we spend on areas that help to change people’s lives. For every £1 donated to Samaritans and its branches in the UK and Ireland, 85p goes on our services and just 15p is used to raise the next £1.
What if I don’t make a Will?
If you don’t have a Will, you can’t assume that those you care about will benefit. It can also cause additional distress to family and friends at a difficult time. There’s also a possibility that any residue (what’s left of your estate after debts and other gifts have been paid out) could go to the Government.
What if Samaritans changes its name, or its direction, or ceases to exist?
If you’ve already pledged a gift to us using a previous name, you don’t need to update your Will as we will still benefit (providing we were known by that name when you wrote your Will).
If, however, you are making a new Will, it is important that the title of Samaritans and the main office address are correct.
Should Samaritans change its direction, we may still benefit but it will depend on the circumstances. And if the charity no longer exists it is possible that a charity closest to our cause will benefit instead. This is, however, dependent on the actions of the executor(s) and Charity Commission.
How can I find a solicitor?
If you’d like to find a solicitor in your area you can visit the relevant Law Society’s website (see below) and search using your postcode.
England and Wales
0131 226 7411
028 9023 1614
I have a couple more questions, who can I ask?
Although Samaritans isn’t in a position to offer legal advice, we may be able to provide some information.
Please feel free to contact a member of our Gifts in Wills team by calling 03709 00 00 32 or emailing [email protected]
We’ll do our best to help or to advise you on who to contact. For all legal advice, we recommend that you consult a solicitor or legal professional.
Guidance provided on this webpage is based on the laws of England and Wales. Legal requirements may differ in the other nations within the UK. It is always advisable to consult a legal professional to assist in preparing your Will.