Making a Will - common questions

Here are answers to common questions we are asked about Will writing

Q. Do I need a solicitor to write my Will?

We recommend you use a solicitor or professional Will writer. Wills are so important that most people prefer to have a solicitor involved to ensure their Will is legal and valid.

Q. Who should I choose as an executor for my Will?

Your executor is responsible for handling your estate and ensuring your wishes are carried out, so it’s important to choose someone you trust. You can choose anyone over the age of 18, and they can be someone who is named in your Will. We would recommend choosing at least 2 executors. As Cancer Research UK has Trust Corporation Status we can act as an executor in some situations.

Q. I don’t think I have anything to leave. How do I work out my assets?

Many people significantly underestimate their assets. Our Will Planner can help you work out exactly what you have to leave, and help you when preparing to write your Will.

Can Cancer Research UK help me write my Will?

Use our Free Will Service to write a new simple Will or update an existing one free of charge. Find out more about the Free Will Service.

Q. What type of gift can I leave Cancer Research UK?

We’re so grateful you’re considering leaving a gift in your Will. The 3 main types of gift people leave are:

  • Residuary gifts – a percentage of your estate.This is often the most straightforward way to leave a gift. It’s also one of the most valuable ways, because it’s not affected by inflation in the same way as a set sum of money.
  • Pecuniary gifts – a specific amount of money
  • A specific gift – for example jewellery or property

But, there are other ways of leaving us gifts if you’d prefer. We recommend you speak to your solicitor about the various alternatives.

Q. How can I make sure my gift reaches Cancer Research UK?

To make sure your gift reaches us it’s important that you include our full name and charity number in your Will. Our full name is Cancer Research UK. Our Registered Charity Numbers are: England and Wales (1089464), Scotland (SC041666), Isle of Man (1103) and and Jersey (247).

Q. How would my gift be used to research treatments for cancer?

We fund research into more than 200 types of cancer and over a third of all our research is funded by people who have left us a gift in their Will. Over 80p of every £1 donated will be spent on preventing, controlling and curing all cancers. The rest we will use to help raise funds for the future.

Your gift could be used to help fund research into cancer in a variety of ways. If you’d like to discuss how your gift might be used then please feel free to contact us.

Q. Can I choose how my gift will be spent?

Yes. We understand that you may want your gift to go towards research into a certain type of cancer or to provide support in your local area. Just get in touch with our Legacy Team on 0300 123 1862 (Monday to Friday, between 8am and 6pm) for more information on restricting your gift.

Q. Does leaving a gift to charity affect how much inheritance tax is paid?

Giving a gift to Cancer Research UK could reduce your inheritance tax liability. Gifts to charities are 100% tax free and taken out of your estate before any inheritance tax is calculated.

Under current law, if you leave 10% of your net estate to charity, it may reduce the overall rate of inheritance tax you pay. Find out more about Capital Gains Tax and inheritance tax.

Q. Do I need to let you know if I’ve left Cancer Research UK a gift in my Will?

You don’t have to tell us if you’ve left us a gift, but it is very useful for us to know as it will help us to plan effectively for the future. We’ll also put you in touch with your own Cancer Research UK Regional Legacy Manager who can help update you on our progress.

Q. I’ve already written my Will. Can I amend it to leave Cancer Research UK a gift?

Yes, you can ask your solicitor or professional Will writer to make amendments to your Will at any time. Depending on the extent of the changes you would like to make to your existing Will, it might be possible for you to use a codicil to make your amendments. Please remember to include our full name and charity number. Our full name is Cancer Research UK. Our Registered Charity Numbers are as follows: England and Wales (1089464), Scotland (SC041666), Isle of Man (1103) and Jersey (247).

Download your free guide to writing your Will

Whether you are writing your Will for the first time, or updating an existing one, our guide helps answer your questions and offers guidance on where to start and what to consider. 

England, Wales and Northern Ireland


We're here to help

Get in touch with my local Community Legacy Manager here.

Free Will Service

If you live in the UK, we offer a free Will-writing service to write or update a simple Will. Find out more here.

Legacy Events

We often run various events so that you can learn more about the work we do and how gifts in Wills make a difference. We will continue to provide updates.