Leaving a gift to us - your questions answered

One of our special furry friends © National Trust/Peter Reed

One of our special furry friends

Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about leaving us a gift in a Will. However, if there’s anything else you’d like to know, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team on 01793 817505.

Can I talk to someone who can answer my queries about Will making and leaving a legacy to the National Trust?
Members of our Legacies Team are always happy to help you with any queries you may have. If you would like to talk to someone you can call us on 01793 817686 or 01793 817505 during office hours or email legacies@nationaltrust.org.uk.

Alternatively, you can write to us at the National Trust, Heelis, Kemble Drive, Swindon, SN2 2NA. Please address your correspondence to the Legacies Team. If you prefer us to reply by telephone, please remember to include a daytime number where we can contact you.

How do I make a Will?
We suggest that you use a qualified solicitor to include a legacy in a new Will or to amend an existing Will. You can find a local solicitor using the Law Society’s website.

We have also produced an information sheet that includes further options and a step-by-step guide with some basic information about Will making. 

What is the difference is between a pecuniary and a residuary legacy?

  • With a pecuniary legacy you can specify a particular amount of money or a specific item, perhaps a piece of jewellery or furniture for example, that you would like to bequeath.
  • A residuary legacy is when you decide to leave the remainder of your estate once family and friends have been taken care of. Many people choose this latter option. This has the benefit that proportionally it will not devalue over time.

Can I avoid inheritance tax with a legacy to the Trust?
The Inheritance Tax threshold is currently £325,000. Inheritance tax is presently set at 40 percent. The only people who can benefit without your estate being liable to inheritance tax are legal spouses and charities. Inheritance tax rates do change: please consult your adviser.

Should I give a copy of my signed Will to anyone for safekeeping?

You can keep a copy of your Will with your solicitor or bank, as well as holding a copy yourself. It is also wise to tell your executors where they can find the original.
From time to time you should review your Will to make sure it still accurately reflects your wishes and takes account of recent events in your life, like the birth of a grandchild for example.

How can I find out more information?

Members of our Legacies Team will be happy to help you with any queries you may have. If you would like to talk to someone you can call us on 01793 817686 or 01793 817505 or email legacies@nationaltrust.org.uk. Or do get in contact if you would like us to send you a copy of our Guide to Making or Updating Your Will.

We also run an annual programme of Legacy Events for supporters who want to find out more at first hand. Please let us know if you are interested.

Can I choose what my legacy is spent on?
Yes you can. Whilst we welcome legacies that can be used for general funds so we can meet our most urgent needs, we are also very happy to accept gifts for a particular use. That means you can choose precisely where and what your money is spent on, a favourite property perhaps, or an area of special significance to you such as the coastline, countryside or gardens.

Can you advise on appropriate wording to put into my Will to include a legacy to the National Trust?
We strongly advise that you use a qualified solicitor to amend an existing Will or to include a legacy in a new Will. We have produced some suggested wording, which you can download from this site and take to your solicitor.

Can I leave National Trust membership to my grandchildren?
Your life membership is personal to you. However, you can leave money in your Will for your grandchildren to buy their own life membership. In this way, you benefit the National Trust and your grandchildren.

Please note however, that the gift of life membership is not deemed by the Inland Revenue to be excluded from liability for inheritance tax.

Can I leave an item of furniture or possession to the Trust?
We are one of the few charities with a professional interest in the assessment and care of house contents. We can be relied upon to take care of your things, decide what to keep, perhaps for display at a property, or for use in a holiday cottage for example, and what to sell at its proper market value.

If you are considering this, please contact us on 01793 817505 to discuss your thoughts and we can explain in more detail. We have prepared some suggested options for Will wording to discuss with your professional advisor.

Can I make the National Trust one of my executors?
Yes you can, particularly if the Trust is the sole or main beneficiary of your Will. But do consider appointing your solicitor or bank as the other executor. They will charge a fee, but will provide a professional service local to you, which the Trust can oversee.  Please contact us for further information.

How does the Trust record and acknowledge legacy gifts?
We are always extremely grateful to receive legacy gifts. Unless there has been a request made for anonymity, all legacy gifts of over £1,000 are also recorded and acknowledged in our Annual Report and Accounts.

Can I leave my legacy to my local National Trust Supporter Group?
Supporters sometimes wish to leave a legacy to their local National Trust Supporter Group. However, because these groups are not charities in their own right, this is not tax-efficient for the legator's estate and may also incur a Corporation Tax Liability for the National Trust Group.

In such circumstances you might prefer to leave a legacy to the National Trust as a tax-free gift and stipulate that the group determines how the money should be spent.

Can I find out what the National Trust spends legacy income on?
On this site you can read about how legacies make a difference and some of the special ways legacies have helped. You can also read our Annual Report and statement of accounts.

Can I be sure my legacy will not be swallowed up by administration?

Yes you can. The last thing you want is for the money you entrust to us to be eaten up by administration costs. We already keep these to a minimum, but all legacy funds we receive go directly to essential project work, endowments and acquisitions, and only there.

As a membership subscription organisation we are able pay for any incurred administration costs and overheads from other sources.

I am an executor, where do I send the legacy payment?
All correspondence should be sent to the Legacies Team at head office at the National Trust, Heelis, Kemble Drive, Swindon SN2 2NA, who will reply to the accompanying correspondence and sort out allocation of funds. Cheques should be made payable to the National Trust.

What is the registered charity number and details to be included in a Will?

Our registered charity number is 205846 and address is the National Trust, Heelis, Kemble Drive, Swindon SN2 2NA.

Who can I contact to find out whether a specific wish by my client can be carried out?
Members of our Legacies Team are always happy to help you with any queries you may have. If you would like to talk to someone you can call us on 01793 817686 or 01793 817505 or email legacies@nationaltrust.org.uk.