How to leave a gift in your will

Everyone needs to make a will. It’s the only way to make sure your money and possessions go to the people and causes you care about.

What type of gifts can I make?

If you’d like to leave Shelter a legacy gift in your will, there are a number of ways you can do it.

You could gift:

  1. A share of your estate (residuary gift)

    You may wish to leave Shelter all or part of what is left of your estate after other gifts and debts have been paid. This gift will not be eroded in value by inflation over the years.

    Suggested will wording:

    'Subject to the payment of my debts, funeral and testamentary expenses, I give (the whole/insert percentage value) of my estate not otherwise disposed of by this my Will to Shelter of 88 Old Street, London EC1V 9HU, registered charity number 263710, for the general purposes of Shelter, and I declare that the receipt of their Treasurer or other proper officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge.'

  2. A sum of money (pecuniary gift)

    You may wish to leave us a stated sum of money. With this gift, it’s important to remember that the value of money changes over time and you may need to alter your will periodically to keep up with inflation.

    Suggested will wording:

    'I give free of tax to Shelter of 88 Old Street, London EC1V 9HU, registered charity number 263710, the sum of £________ for the purposes of Shelter, and I declare that the receipt of their Treasurer or other proper officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge.'

  3. A specific item of value

    You may wish to leave us a particular item of value such as a property, painting or piece of jewellery, which can be sold to support our work.

    Suggested will wording:

    'I give to Shelter of 88 Old Street, London, EC1V 9HU, registered charity number 263710, absolutely (write in here whatever you wish to give) for the purpose of Shelter, and I declare that the receipt of their Treasurer or other proper officer shall be a full and sufficient discharge.'

  4. A reversionary gift

    This gift enables you to pass your estate, or specific assets of your estate, to individuals who will benefit throughout their lifetime. Following their deaths, all or some of the estate is then passed to the beneficiaries, as specified in the reversionary legacy.

    For example, property may be left to a spouse for his/her lifetime and then bequeathed to Shelter after his/her death.

How do I amend my existing will?

If you already have a will and want to include a gift to Shelter, you may not need to rewrite it. You can ask your solicitor to add a codicil form, which makes amendments to your existing will.

Find out how to amend a will for free.

How do I make a will?

We suggest that you use a solicitor to write your will, as it is the best way to ensure your will is legally valid.

If you don’t have a solicitor you are familiar with, contact the Law Society of England and Wales or telephone 020 7320 5650 (Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm). Before you see your solicitor, you may wish to complete our asset checklist and take it, along with our suggested will wording, to your appointment.

Find out how to make a will for free.

Are there inheritance tax benefits?

Gifts in wills to registered charities are free of inheritance tax (IHT). So, if the value of your estate is more than the tax threshold, a gift to charity could reduce the burden of IHT. Also, if you leave 10% or more of your estate to charity, this can reduce the rate of IHT from 40% to 36% on some assets.

Find more information about inheritance tax.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please contact our Legacy Adviser Kate McGrath on 0344 515 2062 or email legacies@shelter.org.uk.