Frequently asked questions

Writing or updating your Will can seem complicated and there are a number of issues you need to consider. We have answered some of the most frequently asked questions below. A meeting with a solicitor or professional Will writer is the best way to discuss your wishes freely and ask any questions.

Do I need a Will?

Thousands of people pass away each year without leaving a Will and some people assume their spouse or registered civil partner will automatically inherit everything, but this is not always true. Gifts may then be left to unintended people and unintended tax may have to be paid. Making a Will and keeping it up to date is the only sure way that the people and causes you love are looked after in the way you intended.

Who should write my Will?

There are a number of options when it comes to making your Will but it is strongly suggested that you ask a solicitor or a member of the Institute of Professional Will Writers to write or amend your Will. After discussing your wishes, the solicitor or professional Will writer prepares a draft Will for you to consider. At that point you can make any changes or amendments.

Once you and the solicitor or Will-writer are happy with the Will, they will prepare the hard copy for you to sign which should be signed in the presence of two witnesses. If you can't find a local solicitor or Professional Will writer, please get in touch with us and we can point you in the right direction.

How much will it cost?

Some solicitors and professional Will writers will make simple Wills for as little as £70, while more complex Wills could cost £200 or more. Most solicitors will offer you an estimate for your Will without any commitment to buy their services. It's worth asking around to make sure you are getting value for money.

I already have a Will. Can I update it to include a gift?

If you already have a Will you can still help those affected by brain tumours by adding a codicil to amend your existing Will to include a gift to The Brain Tumour Charity. A codicil is a legally binding document which allows you to make a change to your existing Will.

What are the different types of gifts?

There are three main types of gifts you can leave to a cause you care about.

  • You can choose to leave a percentage share, or possibly all, of what is left in your estate once all other payments have been made and your loved ones have been cared for. This is called a residual gift and will not lose value over time; it's the most valuable way to give to us through your Will and you can still ensure your loved ones are provided for.
  • You may prefer to leave us a fixed amount of money, otherwise known as a pecuniary gift. It is worth knowing that the effects of inflation could mean that the true value of this gift could become less than you intended unless you review your Will regularly, or you link it with inflation. This is called inflation-proofing and please do consider protecting your legacy this way if you are considering a fixed cash gift.
  • A gift of a specific item, or specific legacy, is a gift of personal possessions, land, building(s) or shares.

Does a gift need to be big?

No it does not. It's the little things in life that mean the most and leaving a legacy, no matter how big or small, will help our work live on for generations to come. As an example, just £20 could buy some vital equipment used for studying cells and brain tumour samples in one of our research projects, whilst £100 could allow us to give our HeadSmart information to 75 families making them aware of childhood brain tumours and what to do if they spot the signs so they can get a life-saving scan early.

Your gift is in safe hands with The Brain Tumour Charity. Whatever you decide to give us, we promise to ensure it is spent where it will have the greatest impact on something you really care about.

You can also ensure that the value of your gift is not reduced by inflation over time, by leaving a gift as a small percentage (residuary) rather than a fixed amount (pecuniary).

Can I leave a gift as a tribute or to a Supporter Group?

Yes, you can choose to leave a gift in your Will to an individual Supporter Group, so that the money can be used for the same charitable objectives in future. You can also leave a gift to The Brain Tumour Charity as a tribute to a loved one by expressing your legacy "as a tribute to..."

How often should I update my Will?

You should review your Will during life-changing events like birth, marriage, divorce or death. For example, you may want to consider updating your Will if you have a baby because you need to appoint people to look after your children if you die. If you have made a Will and divorce then your ex-spouse will be cut out of the Will so you should make a new Will. If you have made a Will and then remarry then you need to make a new Will as marriage revokes a Will. Should your circumstances change, you should think about updating your Will and contact your solicitor or professional Will writer.

You should also review your Will every 5-10 years even if your circumstances have not changed that much.

Can I change my mind?

Yes, of course you can. Your Will is your document and you can include, exclude, add or remove whoever you wish. If you change your mind or if your personal circumstances change, you are free to change your Will as many times as you wish. You don't need to let us know either; it is entirely your choice.

What about Inheritance Tax?

If you are married and die leaving your spouse surviving then there won't be Inheritance Tax to pay if the estate passes to your surviving spouse. The estate is exempt up to £650,000. When your spouse dies then Inheritance Tax is payable at 40% above £650,000. If you are single or divorced then you can leave an estate up to £325,000 before Inheritance Tax is payable.

From April 2012, the government introduced a change to Inheritance Tax legislation meaning in some situations, anyone leaving 10% or more of their taxable estate to charity will qualify for a reduced rate of Inheritance Tax. If you think your estate is going to be subject to Inheritance Tax please discuss this with your solicitor or professional Will writer.

“It was a traumatic time for all the family. Since then I have changed my Will so that a legacy is left to The Brain Tumour Charity. This will greatly help The Charity in its vital research work, the support that it gives to those people who have been diagnosed and are undergoing treatment, and the support of the families whose relatives are suffering from this type of cancer.”

Krista, one of our volunteers, whose father died from a brain tumour