Wills and Legacies

Wills and Legacies

St Mary's and St Matthew's have survived centuries, sometimes in difficult circumstances. Please help to ensure that it continues to survive for generations to come.

Making a Will is important if your wishes are to be carried out and your family and friends are not to be placed under additional stress. Dying intestate can lead to literally years of difficulties for your heirs trying to disentangle the consequences of your wishes not having been recorded in a legally valid manner.

St Mary's and St Matthew's rely on voluntary contributions for their survival. Their current conditions are a testimony to generations of support. These gifts, which help to maintain, repair and improve the Church, will touch the lives of countless people, for centuries to come. St Mary's and St Matthew's has stood for very nearly 900 years and will, God willing, remain for a further 900 years. A legacy, towards the general Fabric Fund, any other area of specific interest to you, or for general purposes, would be invaluable in preserving this ancient church.

In supporting St Mary's and St Matthew's you will be helping to maintain a beautiful and historic building, contributing to a tradition of wonderful music and liturgy, and ensuring that it continues to be a place of inspiration for all who visit.

The policy of the Parochial Church Council of St Mary's and St Matthew's is to use legacies or bequests to help fund significant development projects in the parish, whether buildings, equipment or staff. As circumstances change over the years, it may not be possible to fulfil specific donor requests, so church members are encouraged to leave legacies, if possible, for one of the following Building Fund, Music Fund, Bell Fund, Sacristy Fund or the general purposes of the parish. The PCC will, when the time comes, discuss with Executors the most appropriate use of the legacy in the light of current projects and the donor’s known areas of interest in the church.

Some helpful answers to frequently asked questions.

Why make a will?

If you don’t make a will the law decides how your estate will be distributed, which may not be what you want. Making a will is a way of showing that you care.

Christians have a special responsibility – leaving a will is a vital part of using our God given resources wisely. Preparing a will can be very uplifting.

As you spend time considering the future, you can anticipate and visualise the blessing that others will gain from your gifts.

What should I include in my will?
When making a will we all think about those closest to us – our family and friends – and they should come first. But writing a will is a wonderful opportunity to express generosity at a level which may not have been possible earlier in life and you are invited to consider leaving a legacy to the parish.

What sort of legacy?
There are three main types of legacy:

  1. a fixed sum of money
  2. a proportion of your estate
  3. a particular item of property

What are the tax implications?

As with all gifts to charity, a legacy to the church will be free of Inheritance Tax so this will reduce any tax that would otherwise have to be paid on your estate.

Why should I leave a legacy?
A legacy to the church is a true investment by our generation to ensure that God’s work continues and the Gospel is heard by those who come after us.

As a parish, we are enjoying the heritage left to us by previous generations, both in terms of our spiritual life and our beautiful building. In recent years legacies have helped us to pay for such things as the renovation of the organ, extensive work on the bells and improving our facilities.

It is our privilege, as the church family, to continue this work for those who come after us.Legacies are both an act of thanksgiving to God and of witness to family and friends.

What will the church do with my legacy?
• Large amounts left in a will can be invested to secure ongoing income for the church
• Smaller amounts can help us to preserve the church building or fund a particular project
• Every legacy helps

Should I say how the legacy is to be used?
You may wish to leave money for a particular purpose such as the maintenance and upkeep of the church or the purchase of a particular item for use in the church. However, we also welcome donations to our Development Fund because we can use the gift towards any on-going project adopted by the Parochial Church Council.

How do I make or amend my will?
Whilst it is possible to have a homemade will, these can easily lead to problems. It is far better to make your will properly with the help of a solicitor. This makes sure that it really does reflect your wishes. 

Before you visit your solicitor make a brief list of what you own and think about what you want to do. This will save time and costs. 

Make sure that you have the names and addresses written down for any legacies you wish to include in your will.

 If you have already made a will you will need to keep it up-to-date and it is a good idea to review it from time to time. If you wish to add a legacy to your existing will your solicitor will be able to prepare a short codicil to cover this.

Is there anything else I need to know?
If you would like to talk to someone about making a legacy to the church before you visit your solicitor, Fr Stuart would be happy to have a word with you- naturally in strict confidence. This might be appropriate if you are thinking of leaving a legacy for a specific purpose