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How to leave a gift to charity in your Will

leaving a gift to charity will

The chances are that you already have a Will - but when was the last time you checked it was up-to-date? Reviewing your Will and identifying any changes you might like to make - whether that's including a new grandchild or leaving a gift to charity - is crucial in making sure your estate goes where you want. Here's our quick guide to updating your Will and charity gifts. 


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5 reasons to make a Will and keep it up-to-date

Making a legally valid Will is essential so you can control what happens to your assets after you pass away. It's also important to keep your Will up-to-date or check it if you haven’t done so in a while - especially if your circumstances have changed, for example if you have new grandchildren, have moved house, got divorced or have new matters that are close to your heart. 

making a will

1. Ensure your wishes are followed

When you make a Will, you can have peace of mind that your estate will go to the people and causes that matter to you. A Will is the only way to make sure your wishes are followed how you intend. Keeping it up-to-date makes sure that it reflects any life changes that may occur. 

2. It's easier for friends and family

Having an up-to-date Will makes it much easier to arrange the organisation of your money, property and assets, and be sure they’re acting on your wishes. If you don't have a Will, the process can be more difficult, stressful and time-consuming for family and friends involved. 

3. Reduce inheritance tax

Having a Will can help to minimise the amount of inheritance tax that needs to be paid (if any), so you don't pay more than necessary.

4. Make sure your partner's rights are protected

After you've passed away, you can make sure your partner is looked after by naming them in your Will. If you're not married to your partner or in a civil partnership, they don’t have the same rights as those who are, so including them in your Will makes sure they get what you want them to have. 

5. Do something for future generations

Making a Will - and keeping it up-to-date - helps you to keep control of your assets. If you don't have a Will stating who you wish to leave what to, your estate could end up belonging to the Crown or government, so updating your Will can ensure your estate goes to the people and causes you love. For example, gifts in Wills fund over a third of Cancer Research UK's life-saving research.

Leaving a gift in your Will

Once you have taken care of your loved ones, you can leave a gift in your Will to causes like Cancer Research UK. Gifts in Wills are vital to Cancer Research UK, as they support the charity to fund research that accelerates progress, helping it to beat cancer for future generations.

Cancer Research UK’s research has played a role in developing eight of the world’s top 10 cancer drugs - so leaving a gift in your Will could be a way to make a difference after you've gone. Read on to find out more about the types of gift you can leave to charity. 

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1. A share of your estate

After you have decided what to leave for family and friends, you can leave a share of what remains to charity. This is known as a ‘residuary gift’. A share is less likely to be affected by inflation, so it’s the most valuable way to leave money to charity in your Will.

2. A cash gift

Also called a 'pecuniary gift', this is where you leave an exact sum of money to charity in your Will.

3. A specific gift

You can leave a particular item of yours to charity in your Will. Over the years Cancer Research UK has received everything from a stream to antique jewellery, so the type of item left can vary greatly. 

4. A gift in trust

This is where you leave a gift for someone to use over a period of time. When the period agreed has ended, the gift can be passed on to others, for example a charity.


Amending an existing Will

If you have decided to change something to reflect new circumstances, here's our step-by-step guide to changing your Will. If you'd like advice, Cancer Research UK has a Free Will Service if you'd like to write or change a Will - find out more here.
leaving a gift in your will

  • Prepare - Check your Will to make sure it still reflects your wishes. Think about the changes you would like to make, in particular considering any recent changes that may affect who you wish to leave your estate to. 
  • Review - Think about loved ones you want to include and, if you wish, you can always leave a gift in your Will to charity, like Cancer Research UK. Gifts like this make everything it does possible. 
  • Writing the Will - It may be possible to use a codicil, but this depends on the amendments you'd like to make to your Will. Talk to a solicitor as they will be able to advise you on how to change your Will legally. 

To find out more and to request your free Cancer Research UK Gifts in Wills Guide, please visit cruk.org/willsguide or call 0800 077 6644.

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