Each of us leaves our mark on the world – through our relationships with other people and through our beliefs and ideas. By leaving a gift to CND in their Will many of our supporters have been able to continue to speak out for nuclear disarmament after they are gone.

Since CND’s first meeting in 1958 we have had many successes, important treaties like the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have been signed, developments in nuclear weaponry such as the neutron bomb have been successfully opposed, and overall CND and the peace movement generally have created an environment in which the use of nuclear weapons is anathema.

We may not all live to see the day that nuclear weapons are finally banned, but by leaving a legacy to CND it is possible to help ensure that future generations are free from the nuclear threat

Income from legacies has been incredibly important to CND over the years, if you would like more information about leaving a legacy to CND or the Nuclear Education Trust, please email legacies@cnduk.org or phone 0207 700 2393.

Why should I make a Will?

A Will is the only way of ensuring that your dependants are provided for in the way you wish after your death. Verbal agreements made during your lifetime have no legal effect, so loved ones could suffer – especially a partner to whom you are not married.

If you die without a Will – or ‘intestate’ – a court will appoint administrators to deal with the distribution of everything you own – your ‘estate’. They won’t know your personal wishes and priorities and will divide your estate according to strict rules you will have no control over.

Making a Will lets you choose.

Finalising the affairs of someone who has died intestate takes far longer and is much more complicated, causing legal wrangles and delays during which time your loved ones will be unable to gain access to the money you intended for them. The resulting legal costs could even reduce the value of the estate itself. What’s more, there can be a lot of anxiety and resentment on the part of those landed with the job of sorting it all out.

Making a Will helps them immeasurably.

Where your estate is more than adequate for your dependants, a Will lets you leave money or property to causes like CND that you are passionate about.

This can’t be done without a Will.

How can I be sure my Will is valid and accurate?

It is always best to have your Will drawn up by an experienced solicitor. A Will is a legal document and trying to write your own can be difficult. One slip can cause the whole document to be invalid.

How much will it cost me?

The cost of a straightforward Will is probably less than you think – normally under £100, though it is worth getting quotes from several solicitors. It will be money well spent on ensuring your wishes are followed and your loved ones are protected from distressing delays and confusion.

Having chosen your solicitors you can keep costs to a minimum by preparing the following in advance of your first meeting.

Valuing your estate
Make a list of all your assets including:
• House and its contents
• Car
• Items of special value such as jewellery and antiques
• Savings
• Investments and life insurance
• Business assets
• Money owed to you

Estimate their combined value and then deduct:
• Money you owe
• Mortgage
• Overdraft
• Loans
• Hire purchase agreements
• Credit cards

Naming executors
You must choose the persons you would like to administer your estate (usually two). One could be your solicitor or bank manager (who’d normally require payment for this service) – the other could be a relative or friend (preferably younger). It’s important to gain their consent before naming them.

Choosing guardians
If you have children under 18 you should appoint guardians. This provides for their care in the event of your partner dying before you or at the same time. Again, check that those named are agreeable to taking on this responsibility.

Witnessing your signature
For the Will to be legal it must be signed by you in the presence of two witnesses who must also sign it. They must not be beneficiaries or related to beneficiaries.

How do I know what to leave?

Once you have calculated the total worth of your assets and made all deductions, you will know the value of your estate. You can now draw up a list of those whom you wish to benefit, by how much and in what way. At this point, you may also consider leaving CND a share of the residue that is left over once all major bequests have been made.

What types of bequest are there?

There are three main types of bequest that you can leave to individuals and organisations.

Specific bequest
This is a gift of property or a physical item, such as a piece of jewellery or an antique.

Pecuniary bequest
This is a gift of a set amount of money, such as £500 for a young nephew or £1,000 for a good cause.

Residuary bequest
This is a gift of all or part of what is left of your estate after taxes and debts are paid and all your other legacies have been distributed – known as the ‘residue.’

Your Will must include instructions for the distribution of your estate’s residue otherwise the Government will distribute it according to current legislation.

Which type of bequest is best for CND?

Of course, we are always delighted to receive specific or pecuniary bequests, which can provide a much-needed boost to our resources. However, a residuary bequest is by far the most effective way of remembering us in your Will because it ensures that your family and dependents are provided for in exactly the way you want and we receive much-needed funds that will help us plan our work with confidence. Moreover, because its value tends to adjust in line with inflation, it means that we receive the support you intended, regardless of changing financial situations.

Why would I need to update my Will?

Keeping your Will up to date is as important as making it. Your wishes, your circumstances and your family can change over the years – and the value of pecuniary bequests will be eroded by inflation. The main reasons for updating your Will are:

Marriage and divorce
Under English law, marriage revokes a Will and provisions in favour of a spouse normally cease to have effect following divorce. A new Will is essential after these events.

Children and grandchildren
The arrival of a new child in the family always calls for a review. The birth of grandchildren, or a separation or death in the family may also necessitate changes.

Substantial inheritances
An update is appropriate following the receipt of a substantial inheritance.

How do I change my Will?

Never write on your Will – that would invalidate it. Major changes may call for a new Will, which would be easier to arrange the second time around.

Minor additions can be made using a separate document called a codicil, which must be signed and witnessed as with the Will, though the witnesses need not be the same. It must be kept with the Will but not attached to it.

Giving to a cause that you wish to support, such as CND, can readily be done by adding a codicil to an existing Will. If in doubt, contact your solicitor.

Can I make my bequest to CND tax exempt?

CND is a campaigning organisation rather than a charity, which means your bequest will not be tax exempt. However, tax effective bequests can be made to our sister charity, the Nuclear Education Trust, which exists to advance education by promoting the study and understanding of, and research into, arms control and disarmament, defence and security, with an emphasis on nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. These bequests will be exempt from Inheritance Tax – making it worth more to us at no extra cost to you. Nonetheless, we greatly prefer to receive bequests for the campaigning arm of CND. Unlike gifts to the Nuclear Education Trust, which must be spent on our educational work – only a small part of our overall work – gifts left to CND in supporters’ Wills can be spent wherever they are needed, making them a much more effective way of supporting us.

To discuss this, or any other aspect of leaving a bequest to CND, feel free to contact us on 0207 700 2393 or legacies@cnduk.org. Our registered office address is Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, 162 Holloway Road, London N7 8DQ.