Here are answers to some of the things we’re most often asked about gifts in Wills.
Leaving a gift in your Will FAQs
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.
What is Inheritance Tax?
Inheritance Tax is the tax that is due on your estate on your death if the value of your net estate (your estate after deduction of liabilities such as your debts, funeral costs and so on) exceeds the Inheritance Tax threshold (currently £325,000*).
If your net estate exceeds the Inheritance Tax threshold, that part of your net estate over the threshold will be liable to Inheritance Tax at a rate of 40%. This means that beneficiaries of your estate will receive £6,000 for every £10,000 over the threshold your estate is worth.
Any gifts that you leave to charity in your Will are exempt from Inheritance Tax and, accordingly, they can reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax due on your estate.
In addition, if you leave 10% or more of your net estate to a charity like Samaritans, you can opt to pay a reduced rate of Inheritance Tax of 36% on any additional part of your estate that is subject to tax. This could enable you to leave a legacy to a charity of your choice while helping those you choose to leave an inheritance to, by lowering the amount of tax they would have to pay.
Inheritance Tax can be complex, but your solicitor should be able to advise you about your own position. You can also find out more by visiting the Government's website.
* The Inheritance Tax threshold is currently £325,000 (as of April 2021). The Inheritance Tax threshold, rates and concessions described above were all correct at the time of publication, but you should speak to your solicitor to confirm the position at the time your Will is drafted.
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. Please use the following wording:
Central Charity branch
I give <the sum of £______> and/or <(all/specify fraction/% share) of the residue of my estate> and/or <specific item> to Samaritans, registered charity in England and Wales (219432) and in Scotland (SC040604) of The Upper Mill, Kingston Road, Ewell KT17 2AF for its general charitable purposes absolutely, and I express the wish (without imposing any trust or binding obligation) that the sum be applied for the use and benefit of the Samaritans (specify) Branch. I declare that the receipt of the honorary treasurer or other proper officer of the said charity shall be a full and sufficient discharge to my executors.
I give <the sum of £______> and/or <(all/specify fraction/% share) of the residue of my estate> and/or <specific item> to Samaritans (specify) Branch (specify registered charity number for that Branch) of (address for Branch) for its general charitable purposes absolutely. In the event the aforesaid Branch shall no longer exist at the date of my death I give the legacy to Samaritans, registered charity in England and Wales (219432) and in Scotland (SC040604) of The Upper Mill, Kingston Road, Ewell KT17 2AF for its general charitable purposes absolutely. In either case I declare that the receipt of the honorary treasurer or other proper officer of the said charity shall be a full and sufficient discharge to my executors.
We would appreciate it if you could consider index linking cash gifts in order to maintain their value for the future.
If you choose to do so, we recommend that you ask a solicitor to provide suitable wording to index link your gift as well as making allowances for any future eventualities.
If you would like to restrict a gift to a specific branch in the Republic of Ireland, please feel free to call us on 03709 00 00 32 or email [email protected] to obtain the correct branch details and 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 visit the How to include a gift to Samaritans page.
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?
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.