Gifts in wills - FAQs

Deciding to leave a gift to charity in your will is a very personal matter and we understand that you will want to put a lot of thought in to the decision and the process involved.

That’s why we have put together a list of some of the most frequently asked questions to help you. These should answer most of the common questions people have when thinking of leaving a gift to charity in their will.

Why make a gift in your will to remember Cats Protection?

A gift in your will costs you nothing during your lifetime and won’t affect you now, but will one day make a vital difference to the lives of countless cats and kittens.

What types of gifts in wills are there?

There are three main types of gifts in wills (also known as legacies) – residuary, pecuniary, and specific.

A residuary legacy is when a person leaves a percentage of their estate after all the other legacies have been made and debts cleared. One of the advantages of a residuary legacy is that it has the benefit of being inflation-proof and means you’re less likely to need to update your will in the future.

A pecuniary legacy is a gift of a specified sum of money. To prevent its real value decreasing over time this gift can be index linked to the Retail Price Index.

A specific legacy is a gift of a particular item, such as property, antiques, jewellery and stocks.

For more information about the terms surrounding writing your will, please visit our Glossary.

Can I remember a specific branch, adoption centre, or an area of your work?

Yes. While most people want us to use their legacy wherever the need is greatest at the time, we also know that our supporters can have strong affinities for specific areas of our work. Consequently, we do all we can to facilitate supporters being able to leave a gift to these areas.
All we ask is that you phrase this choice by expressing a wish that your gift be used in this way, particularly in the case of naming branches or adoption centres, to cover for an event where a centre or branch changes its name, moves location, or differs in other circumstances. We can never be exactly sure what will happen in the future, so we always look to ensure that the continued care of cats is our paramount concern.
Suggested phrasings concerning specific gifts can be found here

Do I have enough money to leave a gift in my will?

Every gift we receive from our supporters, no matter how large or small, makes a real and tangible difference to the lives of the cats and kittens we help and care for. Even a small percentage of your estate can make a big difference to charity, whilst safeguarding both your intentions and your loved ones interests.

What will it cost?

Writing a will is not as expensive as you might think. Solicitors can provide estimates on request, but the cost will depend on how complex your affairs are.

Cats Protection offers a free will-writing service to Cats Protection supporters. Please visit our Free will-writing service page to find out more.

How do I leave a gift to Cats Protection? What do I need to tell my solicitor?

If you decide you would like to leave a gift in your will, in most cases you can do so by making a simple addition to your existing will. This is called a codicil. This supplement overwrites existing instructions without the need to revoke or rewrite the whole document. We have provided a draft codicil to simplify the process.
If you want to rewrite your will, or if you have not yet made one, you may wish to see a solicitor. Although you will have to pay a fee, you will receive professional advice and can be sure that your wishes are honoured. Suggested phrasing for including Cats Protection in your will can be found here.
All gifts should be left to Cats Protection and must use our registered charity numbers 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland) and the correct registered address: Cats Protection, National Cat Centre, Chelwood Gate, Haywards Heath, RH17 7TT.
With any matters regarding your will Cats Protection always recommends seeking professional legal advice.

What if I want to change my will at a later date?

That is perfectly fine. Solicitors normally advise you to review your will every few years to make sure that it doesn’t become out of date and that it reflects your changing circumstances. Ensure your will is up to date by either writing a new one or amending and updating your existing one using a codicil

Will the gift in my will be confidential?

Cats Protection will act in a professional manner and respect your privacy at all times. We will not pass on any details of your will or confidential information.
If you would like to share your personal reasons or story as to why you have chosen to remember Cats Protection, we would love to hear from you. This can be a great way to encourage others to consider this wonderful way to support our work in future.

What about Inheritance Tax?

Any gift made in your will to Cats Protection also has the added benefit of being exempt from Inheritance Tax (IHT) and could even reduce the liability for your loved ones if your estate is over the IHT threshold.

For further information, please visit the Inheritance Tax pages of Gov.uk.

Can you help me find a solicitor?

As a charity, we’re unable to recommend a particular solicitor, but your relevant Law Society will be able to help you find details of solicitors close to you. For England and Wales visit www.lawsociety.org.uk, for Scotland visit www.lawscot.org.uk, and for Northern Ireland visit www.lawsoc-ni.org

Can Scottish law affect my gift to Cats Protection?

Yes, Scottish laws relating to wills do differ in some areas and we would strongly advise you to speak to your solicitor who will be able to advise you and ensure that your wishes are carried out. Discover more about Scottish law by visiting the HM Revenue and Customs website.

Will you look after my cat when I die?

Cats Protection will be happy to care for any cats that survive you, as part of our Cat Guardians service. You will need to register with us, but you can then feel safe in the knowledge that we never put a healthy cat to sleep and will care for your cats until a loving new home is found. Find out more

What should I do if I’m acting as an executor of a will?

If you have any questions about the process of being an executor, our Legacy Administration team will do their best to help you. Please contact our Legacy Administration Team on 01825 741 992, email legacy.enquiries@cats.org.uk, or write to;
Legacy Department
Cats Protection,
National Cat Centre,
Chelwood Gate,
Haywards Heath,
RH17 7TT.

Can Cats Protection act as Executor of my will?

Yes, Cats Protection can act as Executor, either solely or as joint-Executor. We are able to do this because we have an in-house Legal Team who are experienced in this kind of situation. This enables us to keep costs as low as possible; so that we can ensure that as much of your estate as possible goes to the people and causes that you care about.

We have provided suggested wording if you wish for Cats Protection to act as Executor of your will. This can be found here.

Should I tell you that I’ve left a gift to Cats Protection in my will?

There is absolutely no obligation to tell us that you have left a gift in your will and any pledge you make is not legally binding. However, if you would like to let us know that you have remembered Cats Protection in your will, we’d love to hear from you so that we can thank you for remembering the charity in such a personal way. Please let us know using our contact form or calling us on 01825 741 271.


If you have any other questions then please do not hesitate to contact the Gifts in Wills Team, whose details can be found on our contact page.