RSPB
Skip navigation
Print page

Frequently asked questions

Winter-plumaged sanderling running along wet beach

Image: Nigel Blake

This section answers questions we are often asked by people considering the RSPB in their Will. If your question is not answered here, please don't hesitate to contact us using the details at the bottom of the page. 

Many people make false assumptions about what will happen to their estate if they do not have a Will. Not leaving a Will could result in lengthy and expensive complications for your family to sort out.

Now, if you haven't already done so. If you already have a Will, you should review it regularly, particularly when your personal circumstances change for example, if you get married or divorced, you have new children or grandchildren or you move house.

Yes, although a Do it yourself Will may prove to be a false economy. One tiny error can invalidate the entire Will, so we recommend that you employ a solicitor to do the work.

Legacies to registered charities are exempt from inheritance tax. In certain circumstances especially with larger estates a charitable bequest can be a useful way to avoid the payment of inheritance tax on some or all of your estate.

It is of course true that we can never know when a bequest will arrive or how much, if anything at all. Life has many twists and turns, circumstances change and we always genuinely hope that we will not receive these kind gifts for many years. However, legacy income forms a major part of the funds received by the Society, around 1/3 in fact, and the information received enables us to plan, in broad terms, for the future. Knowing whether legacy income is likely to increase or decrease in the years ahead can help shape our plans.

In addition, we would like to acknowledge the kind gesture, and by way of a thank you for letting us know we will send you the book "A Living Heritage" which gives information on the RSPB reserves which are supported by legacy donations.

Many people prefer to see donations made to the RSPB in lieu of floral tributes. If this is stated in your Will the executors can make sure that your wishes are known. An inscription in one of the RSPB's In Memoriam books can be arranged where total donations amount to £250 or more. The following wording will ensure that your wishes are met:

"I request my executor to ensure that instead of flowers at my funeral donations are made to The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Charity registered in England and Wales no 207076, in Scotland no SC037654, of The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL."

If you have any queries on the wording please contact us through the details below. Further information on how family and friends can make In Memoriam gifts can be found in the In Memoriam section of the website.

Your estate is everything that you own, including any life insurance policies that will be paid on your death.

A Specific legacy is the gift of a specific item or asset such as shares or jewellery.

A Pecuniary legacy is a fixed sum of money. It is worth bearing in mind that inflation can erode the value of pecuniary legacies, so it is worth reviewing your Will on a regular basis, whether or not your circumstances change.

A Residuary legacy is a gift of all or part of your net estate (what remains after all taxes, specific gifts and the cost of administering the estate have been paid). This type of legacy should be expressed as a percentage or share of your estate.

Executors are the people appointed by you in your Will to ensure that your wishes are carried out and your estate dealt with in accordance with your Will. In certain circumstances, the RSPB can act as your executors. Please contact us for information.

In certain circumstances, we will be happy to act as your executors, and we are very experienced at doing this.

IMPORTANT: please call us first, using the contact details below, to let us know your plans. If it is appropriate to proceed, we will be happy to provide you with the suggested wording for this part of your Will.

The following wording covers a gift of a share of the estate:

“I give to The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Charity registered in England and Wales no 207076, in Scotland no SC037654, of The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL, (hereinafter called the RSPB) the residue (or % share of the residue) of my estate absolutely and I direct that (i) the proceeds may be used for the general purposes of the RSPB and (ii) a receipt signed by a person for the time being authorised by the Council of the RSPB shall be a good and sufficient discharge to my executors.” *

The administration of all legacies kindly bequeathed to the RSPB is dealt with by our Legacy Administration Team who are based at our UK Headquarters at The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL.

In case of need please telephone our main switchboard on 01767 680551 and ask for a member of the Legacy Administration Team who will be pleased to help you with your enquiry

A fixed sum, or pecuniary legacy can be left using the following suggested wording:

“I give to The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Charity registered in England and Wales no 207076, in Scotland no SC037654, of The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL, (hereinafter called the RSPB) the sum of £_______ and I direct that (i) the proceeds may be used for the general purposes of the RSPB and (ii) a receipt signed by a person for the time being authorised by the Council of the RSPB shall be a good and sufficient discharge to my executors.”*

*Important Note

Simple errors in wording can create confusion and delay in carrying out people's wishes.

It is important, for instance, that the RSPB's name, address and registered charity number are put properly into a Will.

For the convenience of a solicitor who may be helping you draw up your Will, the examples given above cover two different kinds of legacy.

Speak to an adviser

David Beach

David Beach

Senior Legacy Adviser

Telephone: 01767 693306

E-mail: david.beach@rspb.org.uk

Neil Barton

Neil Barton

Senior Legacy Adviser

Telephone: 01767 693276

E-mail: neil.barton@rspb.org.uk

What can I do?

If you're interested in leaving a legacy to the RSPB, the next step is to request a copy of our free legacy booklet. It contains everything you need to know about leaving a legacy to the RSPB.

Request information booklet