Leaving a gift in your will can accelerate tomorrow’s vital breakthroughs in autism research, helping to fund research that will shape policy and work with autistic people to make more of a difference.
When you pledge to leave a gift in your Will, no matter how large or small, you are making a lasting legacy that will help to change the future for autistic people and their families.
I have left a gift in my will to Autistica because I am confident that the money will be spent on creating a better future for autistic people and their families. The vital research that Autistica funds is leading to a much greater understanding of autism and the interventions that can help families like mine. I am proud to support the work that Autistica does. I can’t think of a better investment.
Lisa Wood, Autistica supporter
We fully recognise this is a private gift and that your circumstances might change in the future.
To reassure you that we value highly the private nature of this way of supporting our work we have developed the following promises:
- We will not put pressure on you to give a gift in your Will – it is your decision.
- We will never ask you the size or type of gift if you decide to support our work this way.
- We absolutely recognise those closest to you come first in your Will.
- We respect your right to privacy - you never have to tell us your intentions.
- We fully understand that personal circumstances change and there might be a time when you must take Autistica out of your Will.
- We promise to use your gift wisely.
- If you want your gift used in a special way, we will honour your wish.
If you would like to tell us about your gift, it does enable us to say thank you, which we like to do.
What if I don’t have a Will?
For families with autistic children or other dependants, it is strongly recommended that you take advice on this. You should talk to a solicitor or financial advisor. Many people also discuss tis with their families.
Parents and families with autistic dependents often have special requirements and may need to plan differently.
For families with autistic children, it is strongly recommended that you take advice concerning Lasting Powers of Attorney and to form a Discretionary Trust. Our Frequently Asked Questions section outlines some of the issues.
How do I write a Will?
You can write a will yourself however, you it is recommended that you take advice from a legal professional, solicitor or financial advisor. This is especially true if your Will might be complicated or needs special provisions.
Can I change my existing Will?
Yes. If you already have a Will, and would like to change it, you can use a codicil but nowadays it is just as easy for your solicitor to adapt an existing Will. Your solicitor or financial advisor can help you with this.
What type of gift can I leave?
The most usual gifts are:
- A percentage of what your total estate– formally this is called a residuary gift. It can be 1% to 100% of your “estate” – again whatever suits your own circumstances. This type of gift is hugely valuable to Autistica as they tend to maintain or increase in value overtime. Even a small percentage can deliver huge impact.
- A specific sum of money – formally this is called a pecuniary gift. It can be any amount that you choose and will remain the same unless you change your Will.
- A specific item such as property or valuable artwork that we would sell. We do not keep these items as investments.
There are other types of gift, stocks and shares for example. Your solicitor or financial advisor can help you with this. You can also look at our Frequently Asked Questions section or contact us to discuss other ways of leaving your legacy gift.
Tax Savings – An added benefit
Inheritance law can be complicated and often subject to change. However, leaving a gift in your Will can be an effective way to reduce your tax burden, depending on your circumstances. Please take professional advice on how the tax benefits of legacy giving
Information for Executors
Executors with a bequest to deliver to:
- Autistica specifically
- Any Medical or Research charity
- Any Human Rights charity, or,
- Where you believe Autistica complies with the wishes of the Legator
We are pleased to accept cheques made payable to Autistica. Cheques should be sent to:
Fundraising Team Administrator
Major Donor Manager
7-12 Great Dover Street
Company no. 5184164 Charity no. 1107350
Alternately, bequests, particularly those from overseas can be made by bank transfer if preferred.
Finding a Solicitor
Please contact us and we can supply you with a list of local solicitors who regularly draft Wills. We are not allowed to recommend a particular solicitor. We also suggest you look at:
Citizens Advice: advice on Will making and why it’s important
Gov.uk: the basics of Will making
Gov.uk: the basics of inheritance tax
The Law Society: locate a solicitor in England and Wales
The Law Society of Scotland: locate a solicitor in Scotland
The Law Society of Northern Ireland: locate a solicitor in Northern Ireland
More information about Wills
Wills can be complicated. Autistica advises that before making, or revising your Will, you should do so in consultation with your family, solicitor or financial advisor.
Why should I write a Will?
If you die without a Will or if your Will is invalid, your estate is distributed under intestacy rules. These rules set out a strict order of who can inherit your estate, which may go against your family situation; no provision is made to unmarried partners, cohabitees or ‘stepchildren’ under these rules. In the case one is not married with no children or living blood relatives, the Crown will receive the estate of the intestate. Making a legally valid Will ensures you have control over who is to inherit. This should ideally be reviewed every few years to ensure your wishes suit your current situation.
Why should I support Autistica with a gift in my Will?
You will play a valuable part in supporting areas of our work that you care about.
You will contribute towards the enhancement of Autistica’s long term future and that of society through its influence on public policy.
As a charity, Autistica pays no tax on gifts it receives.
A legacy may have taxation benefits for your estate by reducing the amount of inheritance tax for which your estate is liable.
You may find that you are able to contemplate making a much larger gift than would otherwise be possible during your lifetime.
Making a deferred gift means that you have the use of your assets during your lifetime.
Are there specialist provisions for parents/families with autistic dependants?
Yes, you should discuss these with your solicitor or financial advisor – they might include:
Lasting Power of Attorney
Disabled Person’s Trust
Pre-Paid Funeral Plans
What is a Disabled Person’s Trust
This can be set up where a dependant meets the conditions to qualify, for example, if they receive the disability living allowance care component at the middle or higher rate.
They will be entitled to all of the income from the trust and it will not affect means-tested benefits, unless the trust fund produces a lot of income and the dependant has more money than they can use.
What is Lasting Power of Attorney?
This is when a person or persons are appointed to help to make, decisions for a dependant person on their behalf behalf.
What is a discretionary Trust?
A discretionary trust is a legal arrangement which allows you to set aside assets, such as property and money, for the benefit of people you choose as ‘beneficiaries’ and the trust is controlled by trustees whom you appoint. In the event of your death, the trustees have a legal responsibility to use the trust fund to benefit the chosen beneficiaries.
They are important because If you are caring for someone with autism who can’t lead a fully independent life you might be worried about how they are cared for after you die. By setting up a discretionary trust, the money from this will be used to care for your child as your appointed trustees will act in your dependant’s best interests and benefits.
Depending on the type of trust you use, there may also be implications on tax or benefits after your death. You should discuss this with your solicitor or financial advisor.
What about the tax benefits?
A gift to Autistica does not attract any tax as it is a recognised charity. In the UK currently, the value of your gift is deducted from the estate’s value before inheritance tax is calculated. Inheritance Tax rules can change, so it is always best to seek legal advice from your solicitor, or financial advisor, to discuss the contents of your Will.
By UK law a 40 per cent tax is payable on estates worth over £325,000. For those who choose to leave 10 per cent or more of their estate to charity, the inheritance tax liability can be reduced from 40 per cent to 36 per cent.
The HM Revenue and Customs website provides detailed information for calculating your potential tax liability, which you can access here.
Your solicitor, or financial advisor, can advise further on Inheritance Tax.
Are there other ways I can make a planned gift?
There are a number of alternative ways you can support Autistica through a legacy gift. Your solicitor, or financial advisor, can advise further on these. They might include:
- Legacy Gifts through the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF)
Some donors, who support a number of charities, prefer the flexibility of leaving their legacy through CAF (Charities Aid Foundation). By leaving a gift to CAF, donors are able to change their charity details without updating their Wills.
- Life Insurance and company pensions
Autistica can be nominated as a whole, joint or partial beneficiary of a life insurance policy or company pension.
Can I leave my gift for a specific purpose?
Yes but you should recognise:
That the gift should cover the entire cost of the purpose if it is not a current project.
Projects and purposes change over time so the Board reserves the right to review and redirect your gift if the original purpose is no longer exists.
Can I include a legacy gift without updating my Will?
Including Autistica in your estate plans without having to rewrite your Will is possible. Your solicitor, or financial advisor, is best placed to advise you on how to add a codicil to your Will without having to re-write it. This would normally involve a Codicil – see below
Autistica can also benefit from a life insurance and/or company pension which sits outside of your Will.
Autistica can be nominated as a whole, joint or partial beneficiary of a life insurance policy or company pension. It is important to nominate on the appropriate form who you would like to receive the benefits, which can be requested from your Scheme provider. Without your wishes on file, the Scheme Trustees will be obligated to explore potential beneficiaries which could take some time and, more importantly, not be in line with your wishes.
Who are the Trustees?
These are usually professionals who you appoint. Solicitors or accountants usually charge for their services. However, you could choose friends of family members. It is normal to have more than one trustee.
Can I have a sole beneficiary of a discretionary trust?There needs to be several beneficiaries, such as family members and even your preferred charities. for a discretionary trust but if your dependant qualifies for a disabled person’s trust they can be the sole beneficiary.
Can Autistica be one of my preferred charities?
Yes. We would be hugely grateful to be considered in this way.
What would happen to the trust after the death of the autistic beneficiary?
It is up to you to decide what happens. You can, for example, direct that your trustees split any money left over equally between the other beneficiaries or you can give any balance to charity.
What is a Codicil?
A codicil is a straightforward document attached to your Will. It needs to be signed and witnessed in the same way as a Will. It allows you to make amendments to an existing Will instead of completely re-writing an already written version.
Can I leave a legacy gift if I live outside the UK?
Your solicitor, or financial advisor, is best placed to advise you on this as laws are varied.
Scottish Law is different from the rest of the UK.
Residents outside the UK: should consult a solicitor or financial advisor in their own country of residence on how to make a legacy gift under local probate law and tax regulations.
Residents in the US: may include a gift in their Will directly without negative tax implications. Taxable estates will qualify for an estate tax charitable deduction since Autistica is a qualified charity.
We recognise that a legacy gift is the ultimate and most personal gift we could ever hope to receive. Thank you for your consideration of this substantial request.
Dr James Cusack, CEO