How to leave a gift in your will
Leaving a gift in your will means creating a lasting legacy for the patients, staff and communities of Guy’s and St Thomas’.
Your gift helps the exceptional team stay one step ahead. By supporting us, you’re helping them go that bit further, beyond what the NHS can provide.
When you decide to leave a gift in your will, it’s a decision that can change lives. To help guide you through the whole process, follow the advice below.
Writing a will for the first time
We strongly recommend that you use a solicitor to draw up your will. A qualified solicitor can guide you through any unfamiliar legal language, as well as any issues in Probate Law, Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax that may affect your estate.
Using a solicitor can give you peace of mind and the opportunity to set out everything clearly, to minimise any chance of your wishes being misunderstood.
The Law Society has lots of information on how to choose a solicitor. Before you seek professional advice, make sure you have:
- a list of all your assets, including rough estimates of what they might be worth
- a list of any outstanding debts you may have
- a list of beneficiaries you’d like to include in your will, such as any charities and their registered charity numbers
Ideally, you should also:
- choose the executors of your will – these are the people who will carry out the instructions in your will
- choose guardians for your children if they are under 18 – make sure you discuss it with them before including them in your will
- decide whether you’d like to be buried or cremated – there several options now available, including eco-friendly or natural burials
- decide whether you’d like flowers at your funeral or if you’d prefer donations to a charity, such as Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity
Once your will has been written, and you’re happy that it reflects your wishes, it needs to be signed by you and witnessed by two other people, all in the presence of each other.
A witness cannot be a direct family member – this includes your spouse or civil partner – or a beneficiary in your will. Your solicitor may be able to arrange suitable witnesses on your behalf.
Changing or amending an existing will
You can add a codicil to your existing will at any time; a codicil is a legally valid addition to a will. It can be used to make specific changes or amendments, such as replacing an executor or adding a new gift but leaves the remaining instructions untouched.
The codicil needs to be signed and witnessed in the same way as a will, then stored with (but not attached to) the original will to which it relates. A solicitor can advise you or write a codicil on your behalf.
If you want to make numerous changes to your existing will, it may be advisable to write a completely new one. If this is the case, we recommend discussing it with your solicitor.