What are you looking for?

6 September 2019 | Comment | Article by Matthew Evans

Legacy giving myths: Changing my will is too complicated

This blog post was updated on 6 September 2022 as part of our ‘Remember a Charity Week 2022’ campaign.

‘I am unsure about leaving a legacy to charity as my circumstances may change before my death, and I don’t want to have to make a new will in future.’

There are many reasons why people choose to leave gifts to charities in their will. Often a charity will be close to someone’s heart because the charity has helped them, a family member or a friend in the past, or the charity is seeking to improve awareness of or progress a cause they support. Gifts to charity can also be an effective means of tax planning.

Making a decision about who to benefit on your death takes a lot of thought, with several factors to take into consideration. As people’s life circumstances evolve over time, so their choice of who to include in their will may also change. Your will should be reviewed every so often to make sure it still reflects your wishes, and you can change your will as and when you want to.

Small changes to a will, for example to add or remove a legacy, can be made using a codicil which is a document that is supplemental to your will. Alternatively, if the changes are more extensive or you would wish to have a new will prepared then that new will would revoke the earlier will. The cost of amending your will can be quite inexpensive, and the process may be more straightforward than you anticipate.

Leaving a gift to a charity in your will now does not mean that you will not be able to make changes to the legacy, relatively easily, in future.

You may worry that a charity you want to benefit might change its name, merge with another charity, or have to close. In the event of a name change or joining with another charity, the gift in your will would still be valid. If your chosen charity was not in existence at the time of your death then your executors may be able to pay the gift to a charity with similar objectives so that the purpose of the gift you left would still be met.

Get in touch with our Wills team to discuss leaving a legacy gift.

Remember A Charity Week

Remember A Charity Week is an opportunity to take a moment and consider leaving a gift in your Will to charity, after taking care of family and loved ones. Hugh James is proud to support the week. As part of that we are publishing a series of blogs about charitable legacy giving. Follow @HughJamesLegal on Twitter to keep up to date with all our posts.

This year’s ‘Remember A Charity’ campaign includes a series of ‘How to’ videos hosted by former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis, who answers common questions about leaving a gift in your Will. The campaign also features a new advert that’s inspired by an iconic 70s science show.

Author bio

Matthew Evans


Matthew is a partner and heads up the firm’s private wealth offering. He is responsible for the development, implementation and long-term strategy of the team.

Matthew has a UK-wide reputation in the field of contentious probate, recognised by his clients and peers in the leading legal directories.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


Next steps

We’re here to get things moving. Drop a message to one of our experts and we’ll get straight back to you.

Call us: 033 3016 2222

Message us