LEAVING A LEGACY
Leave a gift to the United Synagogue (the US) in your will and you will help make a huge difference to the lives of people helped by the US every year. Your gift need not be a large one as we appreciate all donations.
Without such generous commitments the US would not be able to have developed the facilities and services that it has. Neither will these facilities and services be able to further develop to meet changing needs.
From April 2012 anyone who leaves at least 10% of their estate to charity will enable those who inherit their estate, who may be liable for inheritance tax (IHT), to pay less as the rate will be reduced from 40% to 36% - a 10% reduction.
1. WHAT IS A LEGACY?
A legacy or bequest is the term used to describe a gift in a Will. As a registered charity, the US is exempt from tax, so your gift would be realised in full. The registered address for the US is 305 Ballards Lane, London N12 8GB. The registered charity number is 242552.
2. WHY BOTHER WITH A WILL?
Making a Will is extremely important. Unless you do, you have no way of knowing how your wishes will be carried out when you die, whether you are male, female, single, married, in a long term relationship.
Your survivors - family, loved ones and friends - may well experience difficulties as they are left to decide on your behalf. If you have no family, everything you have will be divided by law and not by your wishes.
You may already have a Will, but when did you last review it? Have you updated it so that all your loved ones are considered? Did you know that you can leave a gift to charity and that this may help reduce inheritance tax?
Many people put off making or changing a will, because they are daunted by the prospect of legal costs. It can be very straightforward and is not as expensive as many people think.
Drafting a Will and changing an existing Will is not difficult. A visit to a solicitor will ensure that your beneficiaries will inherit according to your wishes. The solicitor's fee for drafting a will is not expensive.
3. MAKING YOUR WILL
The most common approach is to ask a solicitor or Willwriter to draw up a Will according to your requirements.
You can write your own Will, as long as it is properly witnessed. However you risk making mistakes and causing difficulties for survivors. You can also make a Will on the internet using one of many websites, with you creating the Will and a solicitor checking it on-line.
If you'd like advice about making and changing your will online just click here to visit The Will Site.
4. CHANGING YOUR EXISTING WILL
You can change an existing Will by making a codicil. A codicil is an addition to a Will that states any changes you wish to make. A codicil requires specific wording and must be witnessed but can easily be made by a solicitor. Adding a codicil to your existing Will may be a simple way for you to leave a legacy to the US.
Wording for a codicil: "I give, devise and bequeath to the US, 305 Ballards Lane, London N12 8GB (the registered charity number is 242552) the sum of £ (pounds) for its general charitable purpose and I declare that the receipt of the Secretary or other proper officer shall be a good and sufficient discharge therefor."
If you are making significant changes, it is advisable to make a new Will. The new Will should start with a clause stating that it revokes all previous Wills and codicils.
5. HOW TO REMEMBER THE US IN YOUR WILL.
There are several different types of bequest that can be made:
5.1. A PECUNIARY LEGACY is the gift of a fixed sum of money. It can be indexed linked to protect its value.
WORDING FOR A PECUNIARY LEGACY
"I give, devise and bequeath to the US, 305 Ballards Lane, London N12 8GB (registered charity number 242552) the sum of £ (pounds) for its general charitable purpose and I declare that the receipt of the Secretary or other proper officer shall be a good and sufficient discharge therefor."
5.2. A RESIDUARY GIFT is the remainder of your estate, or a percentage of it, after all bequests have been made and any debts, taxes and expenses paid.
WORDING FOR A RESIDUARY BEQUEST
"Subject as aforesaid I give, devise and bequeath to the US, 305 Ballards Lane, London N12 8GB (registered charity number 242552) the whole [or a share (e.g. one quarter or 25% )] of my residuary estate for its general charitable purpose and I declare that the receipt of the Secretary or other proper officer shall be a good and sufficient discharge therefor."
5.3. A SPECIFIC BEQUEST is the gift of a particular item such as jewellery or artwork.
5.4. A CONDITIONAL BEQUEST states what should happen if either the beneficiary were to die before you, or where a gift will only come to the final recipient after a beneficiary's death. It is a common way of donating money to charity.
We strongly suggest that for specific, conditional and other forms of bequest you consult a solicitor. If you have already made a will it is very easy to add a charitable legacy to it. Your solicitor will help you draw up a simple amendment (or codicil). Many people use the opportunity for a general review of their will anyway.
5.5. A REVISIONARY BEQUEST (Liferant) is where a legacy is left to a relative or friend (life tenant) for them to benefit from during their lifetime. For example this can be in the form of a house, or the interest on a trust fund (life interest). After the life tenant's death, the life interest is then passed on as a legacy to the charity:
LETTERS OF WISHES OR INTENT
If this information scares you or you do not wish to spend time with a solicitor or pay legal costs you can write your wishes on a piece of paper and entrust it to someone you know will honour your wishes. These documents are not legally binding and could be ignored or challenged by family members. However if you sign, date and get it witnessed by someone outside your family it is then considered to be a will.
If you would like any more information on leaving a legacy, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.