By having a valid and up to date Will in place, you can ensure that your nearest and dearest are provided for, as well as helping charitable causes that are close to your heart. If you die without making a Will the State decides, and this could result in your estate not going where you would have wished. For instance, your husband, wife or partner may not automatically receive all of your estate.
Using a solicitor is the best way to make sure that your wishes are followed. ‘Do it yourself’ Wills, including ones you can buy in shops, can cause problems if details are left out or wording is not correct. These problems are often expensive to fix and could even mean your will is invalid.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust cannot recommend a particular solicitor or Will writer but the following links may be helpful in choosing the right one for you. Using a solicitor: Find a solicitor in your local area through the Law Society of Scotland. Using a Will writer: Professional Will writers are another option, but they are currently less regulated than solicitors. It is important to check that they belong to a professional body and follow a code of conduct. The Institute of Professional Will writers are just one of the bodies that might be able to help. Using a bank: Many high street banks now offer a Will writing service for their customers. Please contact your local branch for further information.
There are three mains types of gifts you can incorporate into your Will:
For more information on types of gifts, download our Jargon Buster.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust benefits most from gifts that are left with no restriction, allowing us to use the money where it is needed most when it becomes available. Nevertheless, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss your wildlife interests, which will be taken into consideration alongside current conservation priorities at the time your gift is received.
We do, however, appreciate that some prefer to restrict how their gift should be used. If this is the case, we would recommend that you contact us in the first instance to discuss how appropriate your restriction might be (given the timescales involved with gifts in Wills). In such instances, you might also consider including a reference in your Will on how you would prefer your gift to be used if we cannot comply with your original intentions. This will help ensure your wishes are honoured and that Scotland’s wildlife will benefit from your generosity as planned.
If you remember the Scottish Wildlife Trust in your Will, we may be able to act as your executor. Your personal circumstances will dictate whether or not we are able to accept this responsibility. We are bound by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, which sets out our legal terms of reference, and by our paramount duty to advance the conservation of Scotland’s biodiversity for the benefit of present and future generations. This means that we need to know how complex it would be to administer a supporter’s estate so that we can ensure that any expense incurred by acting as an executor is covered by the gift left to the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
If you would like to propose us as your executor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0131 312 4772.
It is a good idea to review your Will from time to time to ensure it reflects any changes in your family or personal circumstances, such as marriage or divorce, the birth of children or grandchildren, or coming into an inheritance. It is also important to check if your estate is affected by inheritance tax because legislation changes over the years.
Updating your Will is a simple task and small changes or additions can be made easily using an instruction known as a Codicil. The Codicil can be added to your existing Will without requiring a full re-write.
Why not download our Codicil template, which includes a few simple rules on how to use a Codicil effectively. We also recommend that you seek professional advice to ensure it is legally binding.
We encourage people to let us know of their legacy pledge. Such information is by no means legally binding, nor do we expect you to disclose financial details. However, such information enables us to very broadly gauge long-term support, whilst also enabling us to thank you properly and keep you informed of the work of the charity. You can contact us using our simple online form.
You are free to change your mind at any time. Letting us know you plan to leave a legacy gift to the Scottish Wildlife Trust doesn’t commit you to doing so. However, it would be really helpful if you could tell us if you do change your mind.
For more information on any aspect of writing or updating your Will, you can contact Zoe on 0131 312 4772 or email email@example.com