The first step you must take is to prepare a will!

Writing a will is your best opportunity to provide for the people you love, and ensure your faith lives on in the church.

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about wills and how to go about preparing one:

Why should I bother to write a will?

If you die without a valid will your estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. It could take years for your family to gain access to your funds and they may not receive all you would have liked them to get.  Dependents not formally recognised as family (such as step-children) do not have automatic rights under the laws of succession. A will is also vital if you have children or dependants who may not be able to care for themselves. Without a will there could be uncertainty about who will look after or provide for them if you die. 

Some changes in your circumstances (e.g. divorce or remarriage) can invalidate parts or all of your will so you should always speak to your advisor after a major life-event.
Most wills are quite straightforward and take less than 45 minutes to set out. Although it is possible to write a will without a solicitor's help, this is generally not advisable as there are various legal formalities you need to follow to make sure that your will is valid. Without the help of an expert, there's a real risk you could make a mistake, which could cause problems for your family and friends after your death. If your estate is complicated your advisor will be able to help guide you through the process. Spending a bit of time preparing can help minimize costs. 
A solicitor can advise you on how inheritance tax affects what you can leave to loved ones, and the tax benefits of leaving money to charities.

How much does it cost to write a will?

A simple will can cost as little as £70 for an individual and around £120 for couples.

How do I find a solicitor?

To find a local solicitor with the right experience contact the Law Society 020 7320 5650 or email findasolicitor@lawsociety.org.uk    We wouldn’t advise you to try writing your own will. A professional can help you consider all eventualities and avoid mistakes  that could invalidate your will or cause delays, disputes and heartbreak when the time comes to administer the estate.

What do I need to think about when writing a will?

A will is important but it needn’t be complicated. Along with the right legal advice from your solicitor, this checklist  will help you to make sure that your wishes are carried out.  It might save money if you complete this checklist before approaching a solicitor.

List your assets
Make a list of everything you own of value e.g. property, vehicles, investments, savings and collectibles.
List your liabilities
Work out what you owe at the time of writing your will e.g. mortgage, loans, credit cards.
List your beneficiaries and legacies
Write down the full name and address of people you intend to include in your will and be specific about what you want to leave them.  If you have dependents or pets, think about who will take care of them and how this will be paid for. If you want to leave a gift to charity in your Will then  it’s a good idea to include its registered details. –See our registered details under “What information should I include…” below
Choose someone to carry out your wishes (executors)
Executors can be professionals, such as solicitors or banks, or they can be trusted relatives or friends. If nominating someone who isn’t a professional, please check they are willing to take on this substantial responsibility.
Double check your draft will and make sure you sign it
Once your advisor has drafted your will, read it through carefully and make sure it’s accurate and it says exactly what you want it to say. When you’re happy with it, the will must be signed and dated by you and two witnesses.
Keep your will safe and sound
Once you’ve made your will it’s important to store it safely. Review it regularly to ensure it reflects your circumstances and wishes.

How do charitable legacies affect Inheritance Tax?

Estates worth more than £325,000 are eligible for Inheritance Tax (IHT) at a rate of 40% on anything above £325,000. For example, an estate worth £425,000 would attract a tax bill of £40,000 (40% of £100,000).
Charities are exempt beneficiaries, meaning that gifts to charity in your will do not count towards the £325,000 valuation. So using the example above, a charitable legacy of £100,000 would mean the estate attracts no IHT.  
Changes to the tax laws implemented in April 2012 mean your family could benefit from a reduced rate of inheritance tax if you leave 10% or more of your estate to charity in your will. This is a new and relatively untested piece of legislation so you’ll need to speak to your advisor to ensure the wording of your will takes advantage of this change.

More information on tax can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk/inheritancetax

What information should I include to remember the Jesuits in Britain in my will?

We would suggest the following wording
I give  [insert amount or proportion of your estate here]
to the Jesuits in Britain of 114 Mount St, London W1K 3AD, registered charity number 230165 and in Scotland number SC40490, for its general charitable purposes absolutely. I further direct that the receipt of the Treasurer or other proper officer of the Jesuits in Britain for the time being shall be a full and sufficient discharge for the said legacy.

Can I decide where my legacy will be spent?

Legacies are usually unrestricted gifts, allowing us to use the funds wherever the need is greatest at that particular time.   However, if you would like your gift to be dedicated to a particular aspect of our work e.g. spirituality, Jesuit Missions, care of elderly priests, or any other aspect our our work, then please make this known.  If possible get in touch with janehellings@gbsj.org so we can advise on the most appropriate wording. 

Do I have to tell the Jesuits in Britain of plans to remember them in my will?

Your will is a private and personal document and you’re under no obligation to tell us about it.  We would be glad to know, not just because it helps us to plan, but also so we can remember you by name in our prayers and thank you in person.
If you would like to tell us of your intention please complete your details here

How will my gift be honoured?

We have a Book of Remembrance for all those who have left us gifts in their wills.  This book is kept in the chapel of the Jesuit Curia in Mount St.  We pray for these donors at every Mass held in the chapel. 


gifts in wills, legacy, prayer