Leaving a gift FAQs

Children running along the sandy dunes at East Head, West Wittering

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 817699.

Can I talk to someone about making a will and leaving a gift to the National Trust?

Of course. We are always happy to help you with any queries you may have. If you would like to talk to someone in confidence, you can call us on 01793 817699 during office hours or email the Gifts in Wills team.

Alternatively, write to: Gifts in Wills team, National Trust, Heelis, Kemble Drive, Swindon, SN2 2NA. If you’d like us to reply by telephone, please include a daytime number where we can contact you.

How do I make a will?

We recommend using a qualified solicitor to make a new will or to amend an existing will. You can find a solicitor in your local area using the Law Society’s website. You’ll also find our Gift in Wills Guide useful. It is available to download below and includes further options and step-by-step advice with some basic information about will making.

Download our Gift in Wills Guide (PDF / 1MB) download

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

  • With a residuary gift, you can decide to leave the remainder of your estate or a percentage of it once family and friends have been taken care of. Many people choose this type of gift that has the added benefit of not devaluing over time.
  • With a pecuniary gift, you can specify a particular amount of money that you would like to leave to the National Trust.

Can I avoid inheritance tax with a gift in my will to the Trust?

The inheritance tax threshold is currently £325,000 and is set at 40 per cent, but rates do change, so please check.

If you’re liable for inheritance tax, it’s possible to reduce it from 40 per cent to 36 per cent by leaving a gift to the National Trust or another charity. The gift in your will must be worth 10 per cent or more of your net estate for HMRC to reduce the inheritance tax due on your estate by 4 per cent.

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

Yes, you can keep a copy of your will with your solicitor or bank, and hold a copy yourself. You should also tell your executors where they can find the original. From time to time, you should read your will again to make sure it still accurately reflects your wishes which can change with events like the birth of a grandchild, for example.

How can I find out more information?

Just get in touch whenever you are ready. Our Gifts in Wills team will be happy to help you. If you would like to talk to someone in confidence, call us on 01793 817699 or send us an email. And let us know if you would like a copy of our Gifts in Wills Guide.

We also run an annual programme of Gifts for the Future events for supporters who want to find out more at first hand. Please contact us as above if you are interested. Our 2015 events take place in:

  • Northern Ireland
  • Northumberland
  • Kent
  • Devon

Can I choose what the gift in my will is spent on?

Yes you can. While we welcome legacies that can be used for general purposes so we can meet our most urgent needs, we're also very happy to accept gifts for a particular use. That means you can choose 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 what wording to use to include a gift to the National Trust in my will?

We recommend you use a qualified solicitor to amend an existing will or to include a gift in a new will. We've produced some suggested wording in your will to download 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 that the gift of life membership is not excluded from liability for inheritance tax by the Inland Revenue.

Can I leave a specific object to the National Trust?

You can choose to leave us a collection or a specific object for us to sell and use the proceeds to support our conservation work. Very rarely do we accept items (such as paintings or furniture) to become part of our collection to be made available to the public.

If you would like to leave a collection or a specific object to the National Trust, please do get in touch to let us know and we can talk about the options available. Please contact us on 01793 817699.

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'll 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 gifts in wills?

We're always extremely grateful to receive gifts in wills. You can ask for your gift to be kept anonymous, otherwise all legacies of over £1,000 are recorded and acknowledged in our Annual Report and Accounts.

Can I leave my gift to my local National Trust Supporter Group?

Some people want to remember their local National Trust Supporter Group in their will. However, because these groups are not charities in their own right, this isn't 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 the National Trust 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 gifts in wills income on?

Yes, you can read about how gifts in wills have helped us. You can also read our Annual Report and statement of accounts.

I am an executor, where do I send the legacy payment?

All correspondence should be sent to: Legacy Administration team, 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 our address is: 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?

Our Gifts in Wills team are always happy to help you with any queries you have. If you'd like to talk to someone you can call us on 01793 817699 or send us an email.

Download our Gift in Wills Guide (PDF / 1MB) download