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Why writing a Will is so important
A Will is one of the most important things you’ll ever sign, for both you and your family. If you haven’t got around to making a Will, or you’re putting off updating an existing Will, you’re not alone. Staggeringly, more than half of British adults don’t have a Will.
There are lots of good reasons to make a Will, but most importantly, having a valid Will is the only way you can make sure everything you’ve worked hard for – your home, possessions and money – gets passed on to the people and causes you care most about.
Without a Will, it’s left to the government to decide who gets what. It can be complicated and distressing for your loved ones if your wishes are not written down and known in advance.
Writing a Will is a lot easier, and more affordable, than you might think.
What is a gift in a Will or a legacy?
A gift in a Will (sometimes called a legacy) is a way of leaving something to a person or group after you die.
There are different types of gifts you can leave in a Will, such as money, part of your estate, or belongings.
Many people choose to leave a gift in their Will to charity, particularly if they have a personal connection to the cause.
Leaving a legacy can mean different things to different people. Your legacy could be about how people remember you, or the impact you’ve made in your community.
We explored what your social legacy means as part of a blog written by Andrew Dodson, who is CEO and founder of The Wealth for Life Partnership.
Most of us leave a Will to make sure our families and loved ones have what they need when we’re gone. But some people use their Will to provide for people they’ve never even met. Leaving a gift to charity isn’t just for the rich and famous either. Click on the boxes below to bust this and other myths about leaving a legacy.
No one can predict the future. It takes a small amount of time and effort to make a Will, and lets your loved ones avoid a lot of expense and heartache later on. Without a Will, the fate of your assets is out of your hands. An unmarried partner, for example, may not inherit anything, which may come as a shock and cause financial hardship. Don’t leave your loved ones in a vulnerable position – once you have prepared your Will, you will have peace of mind that those closest to you will be looked after and any charities you wish to include will be supported.
This couldn’t be any further from the truth. The reality is without the gifts left in Wills by people like you, many of the charities we know and support today wouldn’t even exist. Charitable legacies are the foundation for many good causes in the UK and are vital in continuing their work.
Many of us will be touched at some point in our lives by the remarkable work charities do, but without gifts left in Wills, a lot of this simply would not happen. UK charities rely heavily on gifts in Wills. Supporters who kindly choose to remember the charity in their Will are at the heart of what we have achieved. Gifts in Wills have helped to fund our nurse-led helpline and our vital campaigning for improved diagnosis and treatment options for patients in the future.
Legacies give us the financial resources required to cope with things we cannot plan. During the pandemic, we were able to thrive as a charity by keeping all staff in employment so we could continue to spread the message about liver disease and liver cancer.
Because we get no government funding, we are reliant on voluntary donations like legacies.
There are a few different types of legacy gift that you can make when leaving money to charity in your Will. A pecuniary gift allows you to leave a specific amount of money to the British Liver Trust. A residuary gift allows you to leave the British Liver Trust a share of your estate once family and friends have been taken care of.
You do not need to rewrite your whole Will. Your solicitor can add a codicil to your Will that lists all changes you wish to make to your original Will.
You can leave a legacy to the British Liver Trust after providing for your friends and family and your legacy will live on. Leaving a legacy to the British Liver Trust is a wonderful way for you to carry on supporting a cause that matters to you long after your lifetime.
Three quarters of people with liver disease are diagnosed at a late stage when it is often too late for treatment or intervention. There are now 50% more liver transplants than ten years ago – but not everyone is lucky enough to receive a transplant. A quarter of people who are diagnosed late in hospital die within 60 days.
These shocking statistics must change. Finding liver disease earlier will need GPs and primary care nurses to proactively look for it in their patients. To do this, they need clear guidelines and an easy to implement pathway to refer people for the right tests and treatment.
The key to reversing this liver disease crisis is earlier diagnosis. Your legacy could support our ongoing work to achieve this. Your gift will help fund charity projects which may take many years to complete – but will save countless lives.
As a British Liver Trust supporter, if you use one of our Will-writing partners, Bequeathed and Guardian Angel, the charity will cover the cost of a standard Will.
If you decide to leave 10% or more to charity there are tax benefits for your estate.
You have the option (but not the obligation) to donate or to leave a gift in your Will to the British Liver Trust (or both).
Have you already decided to leave a gift for the British Liver Trust?
It’s up to you if you’d like to tell us, but this can help us to plan for the futureLet us know
My son Joseph became increasingly unwell from the age of 16 and was finally diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis 8 years later. He died when he was 24. I feel that my legacy to the Trust will help further research possibilities into liver disease which could develop treatments which will enable patients to live longer and fuller lives. – Elaine
Liam is Joseph’s cousin, and shares a birthday with him, so the family mark two birthdays on the same day every year. Liam finds supporting the Trust a good way to remember Joseph. As he explains:
The British Liver Trust supported Joseph and his mum, my Aunt Elaine, and still do now, 18 years on from losing him. We support the charity, it helps us to keep his memory at the forefront of our memories. – Liam
When you pledge a gift in your Will to the British Liver Trust we promise:
- To keep in touch if you would like us to
- To treat you and your next of kin with respect and sensitivity
- To ensure you remain anonymous at your request
- To dedicate your gift to vital projects and services
- To spend your gift as you would wish
Gifts in Wills made by supporters like you are helping to fund vital patient support services and patient-led research projects. Your gift will help us fight liver disease long into the future.
Pages you might also be interested in
Our 2021 to 2024 strategy
Towards a World Without Liver Disease: Our strategy outlines six key areas of progress where we will start making our vision a reality.Find out more
Gifts in Memory
Honour the memory of your loved one by donating a gift today, or leave your own personal dedication on our Shine a Light page.Find out more
Hear from real people who have bravely shared their experiences of living with liver disease and liver cancer.