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Gifts in wills left to groups

We know the important part you play in supporting those living with MS, how busy you are as volunteers and the kind support you give to so many. And we don’t want to add extra work and stress to what you already do.

Being notified of a legacy gift, left to your group, is something very special and something to be celebrated. It can also sometimes be emotional, especially if the gift has been left by a group member or someone from a family you’ve been in contact with.

We know it can be hard to comply with all the charity laws and regulations around accepting and receipting gifts in wills. Our central Legacy Team is here to help remove any risks you might face, in what can sometimes be a complicated process.

What does our group need to do?

All we ask is…when you’re notified about or receive any legacy gift, you let the Legacy Team know.

And in return…when we’re notified centrally of a legacy gift left to your group, the Legacy Team will let you know.

The Legacy Team is legally bound to follow the terms of a will and so any gifts left to our groups will always be applied for that sole purpose.

Why is involving the Legacy Team so important?

The Legacy Team will help with all the charity laws and regulations around accepting and receipting a gift.

They will…

  • ensure that everything left to your group in the will is received and applied as the donor intended.
  • ensure that any inheritance and capital gains tax exemptions we’re entitled to, as a charity, have been applied to your gift correctly.
  • check that fees charged by solicitors are reasonable.
  • enable our auditors to confirm that gift amounts in our accounts are shown as received correctly.
  • ensure that all gifts are receipted in compliance with charity law to release the executors from their duties.

By dealing with all legacy gifts left to our groups, the Legacy Team also make sure that families and solicitors aren’t chased for payments that have already been made. This is something we want to avoid, especially when family and friends are dealing with the estate themselves rather than instructing solicitors.

If the Legacy Team is notified of a gift left in a will to your group, they will:

  • let your group and the central Volunteering Team know.

  • ensure that solicitors and executors manage the legacy efficiently so you receive your full entitlement under the will.

  • support you to follow our legacy release process and make sure receipting for the gift is compliant with charity law.

  • share the will clause mentioning your group so you can identify how the deceased intended their gift to be used.

  • share a link to the relevant guide in the Volunteer Handbook relating to receiving a gift in a will — as a reminder of how to make sure you get the most from your gift, whilst following the specific laws related to receiving and receipting such gifts.

If your group is notified of a gift left in a will, you must:

  • let the Legacy Team know as soon as you are notified (by executors, families or solicitors) of any money from a legacy gift. In all circumstances these gifts need to be signed off and receipted by the Legacy Team so that executors are discharged of their responsibility under the will.

  • send all paperwork relating to any legacy gift to the Legacy Team for them to look over and help you with, so that nothing is missed.

  • ensure that all correspondence plus information about any interim and final payments of legacy gifts is shared with [email protected].

Please contact the Legacy Team with any questions: [email protected]

How does our group receive legacy money?

Our central Finance Team keeps a record of all gifts received on behalf of volunteer groups. The money remains in the custody of the central MS Society until a group’s eligible to receive it, or requests additional funds (see below).

This approach means we can manage legacy contributions with precision — observing established protocols and guaranteeing that funds available are to support groups as needed.

Legacies under £20,000

If received centrally, these will be passed on to the group via the earmark process.

Legacies over £20,000

Larger legacy funds are held centrally. Your group will receive up to £20,000 by the end of every May — so long as it’s active, compliant with reporting requirements, and hasn’t exceeded the group reserves limit at the end of the previous December.

If it’s likely that your group will run out of money within the next six months, you can request an additional £20,000. The request must include a detailed explanation of the expected shortfall.

Please contact the Finance Support Team with any questions about receiving legacy funds: [email protected]