The Encephalitis Society is pleased to work alongside our trusted legal partners Moore Barlow, with whom we have had a relationship for over 25 years.

As well as turning to them for legal advice, we are also fortunate to have the support of Moore Barlow’s Private Wealth team in the form of a free Will drafting scheme which is available to our members in England and Wales.

We spoke to Emma Moscrop, one of Moore Barlow’s Private Wealth Solicitors, to find out more about making a Will.

Why should I make a Will?

Your Will determines how your treasured possessions and hard-earned savings are shared between your loved ones. You can also leave charitable gifts in your Will to causes that mean a lot to you. If you do not have a Will, it can pose difficulties for those left behind: creating uncertainty as to what you would have wanted, benefiting people who you would have not chosen, and potentially paying more tax than necessary.

Is making a Will an easy process?

A solicitor or trained Will-writer can guide you through the process of making a Will. It is typically quite straightforward. Your Will should set out:

  • who will be the executor/s of your estate;
    who should look after any dependent children (guardians);
    who you want to benefit (beneficiaries) and it what proportions; and
    what to do with specific individual items.

Once you are happy with your Will reflects your wishes it must be signed in front of two independent witnesses to ensure it is legally valid.

How do you leave money to a charity in your Will?

It is very easy - all you need to know is the charity’s name how much you would like to leave. This can be a set amount (for example, £3,000) or, it can be a share of your estate (for example, 1% of your estate, once any liabilities and testamentary costs have been paid). As an illustration, if you net estate is valued at £420,000 and you leave a 2% share of your estate to a charity, then that charity is likely to receive a gift of £8,000.

Is there a minimum amount?

No, any gift, no matter the size will make a difference. Whether you donate £100 to £10,000 it all goes towards helping people when they need it the most. Depending on your other assets and the tax position at your death, leaving assets to charity can reduce the rate of tax you pay on the remainder of your estate.

Can I leave a house or land to charity?

It is possible to leave an asset, such as a property, or items, such as books to a charity. If your wish is for a property to be passed on to a charitable organization, then you would need to specify this in your Will.
Please be aware, that the charity may want to sell the asset in order to generate free cash and allocate the proceeds where the need is greatest and to meet their charitable objectives.

I am particularly interested in a certain area of the Society’s work. Can I request for my gift to go towards a certain project?

Bearing in mind that a charity’s priorities may change over the years, the more flexible your gift, the more it can be channeled to where the need is greatest. We would discourage you from leaving money for a specific project. If your estate is distributed in 30 years’ time, for example, it is likely the Society’s strategy will have changed.  The Society does however gratefully accept gifts broadly restricted to our three core areas of work: awareness, support and research.

The Encephalitis Society are pleased to offer a free Will drafting service to our members in England and Wales. We will issue you with a free will voucher which you then redeem with Moore Barlow and make your Will through a telephone appointment.

To get started fill in this form and a member of our team will reach out to you with more details. Further information can be found on our website.