Help for the executor of a will
Information and support for people responsible for managing a will, which includes a legacy gift to the British Red Cross
Acting as the executor of a will can be daunting, but we're here to help.
Find out what you need to do as an executor in the UK and what your responsibilities are for a will where the British Red Cross has been left a legacy gift.
The information on this page is for guidance only. It's not a substitute for legal or other professional advice.
If you are unsure of your responsibilities during the administration, it can be helpful to consult with a professional legal advisor for your own peace of mind.
On this page, you can get help with:
What is an executor of a will?
An executor is someone who has been named in a will as being responsible for dealing with the deceased’s estate.
Is the British Red Cross due to receive a gift in a will?
If we are due to receive a gift from the will you’re responsible for, get in touch with our legacy administration team and we can help you with the next steps.
020 7877 7351
Legacy administration manager
British Red Cross
Was the deceased a British Red Cross supporter?
If the person whose will you are the executor for was a British Red Cross supporter, please contact our supporter team and they'll stop any further mail being sent to the deceased's address.
0300 456 1155 (calls charged at your phone operator’s UK landline rate)
Understand your duties as a will executor
This information will help you understand what an executor does and the duties you need to carry out as part of the role.
Helpful information for executors
Different types of legacy gifts in wills
Different types of legacy gifts can be left to the British Red Cross. We ask that you share sections of the will with us, depending on what kind of legacy has been left.
Pecuniary and specific gifts
There are two types of gifts:
- a pecuniary legacy, which is a fixed sum of money
- a specific legacy, such as a piece of jewellery
If we are due to receive a pecuniary or specific gift, please send a copy of the clause in the will where this is stated to our legacy administration team and we’ll make sure the gift is allocated properly.
The deceased’s debts have been paid and all specific gifts have been accounted for. Whatever’s left is known as the residuary estate.
If we are due to receive a residuary gift, you’ll need to send us these documents when they become available:
- A copy of the will once probate has been granted.
- A summary of the deceased’s assets and debts. This is known as a schedule of assets and liabilities.
- Independent valuations of any major assets such as property, shares, or antiques.
- A copy of the estate accounts. This includes the final total of assets, debts, fees, and admin expenses, and how the balance of the estate has been distributed.
- A tax deduction certificate (form R185 estates income).
We appreciate that you may be unsure of how to collate some of this information, so we are happy to help you or advise the best type of person to speak to about this.
Knowing your tax obligations
As executor of a will, you must settle the deceased’s unpaid taxes. UK charities don’t pay inheritance tax, capital gains tax, or income tax.
You shouldn’t pay these taxes on legacy gifts left to the British Red Cross.
GOV.UK has more information on tax relief when you donate to a charity.
If the will you’re working on provides gifts to a mixture of charity and non-charity beneficiaries, you will need to check the inheritance tax payable.
If 10 per cent or more of the net estate is left to charity, a lower amount of inheritance tax may be payable on the non-charitable parts.
Income received by the deceased’s estate can be taxed. This includes income received prior to death, such as interest from bank accounts.
Charities can recover most of the income tax paid on their share. You can help the British Red Cross do this by completing a statement of income from estates (R185 form).
Capital gains tax
Charities are exempt from capital gains tax. We don’t pay tax on property, shares or other assets left to us.
To make sure this happens, use the appropriation process.
In appropriation, you confirm to a charity that you’ll sell assets on their behalf. The sale can then be made, and capital gains tax won’t be deducted.
Before appropriation, executors must be sure that the assets aren’t required for the payment of debts or other legacies.
The executor also needs to get permission from the charity to do this. Get in touch with our legacy administration team if you need help.
For more information on capital gains tax and charity gifts, see GOV.UK.
Dealing with assets
If large assets have been left to the British Red Cross, please let us know.
Large assets could include:
To maximise our gift, we’d like to be involved in the sale. This includes being consulted on marketing and any offers you receive.
To get the best price, please get written valuations from at least two estate agents. You should also check the property’s development potential.
Stocks and shares
Please let us have an up-to-date valuation of any shareholdings.
We can suggest stockbrokers who offer reduced commission rates for charities, and suggest ways to mitigate any capital gains tax.
The contents of a house, or chattel, are often sold for less than their true value. But we can help.
The British Red Cross has favourable terms with UK auctioneers. They can help us get the best price for valuable items.
Get in touch and let us know what items are suitable for auction.
How to produce estate accounts
We understand that administering an estate for a loved one can be difficult, but we would be really grateful to receive a set of final accounts. By law, executors must provide all residuary beneficiaries with estate accounts.
This should be a simple reconciliation that sets out a list of the deceased’s assets and debts at the time of death.
Final accounts should include:
- An expenditure account, including an inheritance tax, administration expenses and pecuniary legacies. Sometimes inheritance tax is paid by mistake. If we can check your accounts, we can be sure we’re getting maximum tax relief on the gift.
- An income account, giving details of interest, dividends and rents paid since death.
- A distribution account, which shows how the estate has passed to various beneficiaries, including the British Red Cross.
If you're an executor you can contact us for information and support
Our team of experts can help