Information for Executors and Solicitors

Leaving a gift in your will is one of the biggest differences you can make.

At Macmillan over a third of our income is generated from such gifts. We are honoured that so many people impacted by our work choose to help us continue it after they have died. The generosity of our supporters helps us support everyone with cancer find their best way through, from the moment of diagnosis, so they’re able to live life as fully as they can. 

We understand that dealing with the death of a loved one, a friend, or a client can be a long and sometimes difficult process. Our expert Legacy Income Team are here to help carry out the deceased's final wishes. We pledge to always assist, guide and support you in any way we can. 

Please contact us with any queries you may have:

Phone: 020 7091 2333

Email: legacyincome@macmillan.org.uk

Post: Legacy Income Team

Macmillan Cancer Support

89 Albert Embankment

London

SE1 7UQ

Frequently asked questions

Although we are not able to provide legal advice, the information below is a summary of other information you can find online. We would always recommend you seek independent legal advice if you need help when administering an estate.

What if someone has died and they have left a gift to charity?

The first thing you would need to do is locate the last Will and Testament of the person that has died. This will give information of the executor and the beneficiaries of the estate. 

Inform the executor of the death and ensure that they have the will so that they can start to carry out their duties. It is important that no one other than the executor starts to deal with the estate as this can cause issues later on.

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What if I am named as the executor in someone’s will?

As executor, it is your duty to ensure that you follow the final wishes of the deceased. These wishes are usually expressed in the will. You are also responsible for organising the funeral and informing all interested parties of the death. 

This will include, but is not limited to, creditors, debtors, beneficiaries and HMRC. Once these steps have been followed, an executor is also responsible for arranging the payment of all debts, expenses and taxes. You must pay any outstanding debts or bills before you can legally distribute the estate, as per the contents of the will.

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Will I need to get a Grant of Probate?

A Grant of Probate (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or Confirmation (if the deceased lived in Scotland) is the document that gives the executor the legal authority to deal with the estate. 

In our experience, most estates will need a Grant of Probate or Confirmation. If the estate is quite small, the executor might not need to get these documents. It is best to check with individual institutions whether they need one to release assets. Usually this depends on the value of the assets and can differ between institutions.

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How do I apply for a Grant of Probate or Confirmation?

Some people prefer to instruct a solicitor to obtain a Probate or Confirmation and you may wish to do this. The process can be complicated and as they are experts, they are able to help ensure that the process is carried out efficiently. 

If you would prefer to do this step yourself, the easiest way to find all the of the information you need is by visiting:

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Who do I need to tell about the death?

It is important to tell any company who had dealings with the deceased. This includes relevant utilities, banks, insurance providers and government agencies. You should also inform any company that is holding assets belonging to the deceased. 

Executors usually place statutory notices in the London Gazette and a local newspaper. For more information see The Gazette's website.

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How do I pay a pecuniary gift left to Macmillan?

You have two options: 

  1. You can send a cheque made payable to ‘Macmillan Cancer Support’ to the above address. We ask that you include a short note telling us the name and address of the deceased. If they are on our database, we can make sure we stop sending anything to their address.
  2. You can make a payment to our bank account. If this is your preferred method, please call us on 020 7091 2333 and we will give you our bank details and a reference number to quote.

Unfortunately, gifts in wills payments cannot be made online via our website or over the phone. 

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What if Macmillan has been left a specific gift?

If we have been left a specific gift such as a car, a china collection, a stamp collection etc., we ask that the item is sold and the sale proceeds are paid over to us.  

If we have been left property or land, we always ask to see at least two written valuations for the property. The reason for this is so we can be confident that the value for which the property is being marketed is correct. 

Once an offer has been accepted, depending on the value of the property at the date of death and date of sale, a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) liability may arise. As a registered charity, Macmillan Cancer Support is exempt from paying CGT. We may also require a special surveyors report so please get in touch with us to discuss how we can make sure no CGT is paid.

Remember that we are here to help you if you need us. We have many years of experience in selling all sorts of items. Get in touch with us and we can work together to make the most of the gift.

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Has Macmillan Cancer Support ever been known by any other name or had any other addresses?

Yes – we only became known as Macmillan Cancer Support in 2006. Other ways in which we are commonly named in a will are:  

  • Macmillan Cancer Relief – our name until 2006.
  • Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund – our name until 1997.
  • National Society for Cancer Relief – a name previously held by Macmillan Cancer Support until 1989.
  • Macmillan nurses – we are commonly referred to as Macmillan Nurses, we can still receive legacies in this name.
  • CancerBackup – Macmillan Cancer Support merged with CancerBackup in 2008.

If the name mentioned in the will you have is not listed above, but you think Macmillan Cancer Support may be the intended beneficiary, please get in touch with us.  Previous addresses include:

  • 15/19 Britten Street, London, SW3 3TZ

  • Michael Sobell House, 30 Dorset Square, London, NW1 6QL
  • 47 Victoria Street, London, SW1
  • Cheam Court, Cheam, Surrey
  • 15 Ranelagh Road, Belgravia, London, SW1

We have also had many local offices over the years and one of these addresses may have been used in a will.

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How do I pay a gift from a will to Macmillan Cancer Support?

You have two options: 

  1. You can send a cheque made payable to ‘Macmillan Cancer Support’ to the above address. We ask that you include a short note telling us the name and address of the deceased. If they are on our database, we can make sure we stop sending anything to their address.
  2. You can make a payment to our bank account. If this is your preferred method, please call us on 020 7091 2333 and we will give you our bank details and a reference number to quote. 

Unfortunately legacy payments cannot be made online via our website or over the phone.

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What if I’m administering an estate where Macmillan receives a residuary gift?

We appreciate that administering an estate can take some time and what is left over once everything has been sold is the last thing that can be distributed. We completely understand this and want to help you where we can. We usually request that you send us a copy of the will and a schedule of assets and liabilities at the beginning of the administration. This will enable us to identify any issues or assets that we can help with. Things to consider are;

Does the estate include shares?

If this answer is yes, please share the valuation you have received. 

We have contacts who may be able to offer preferential rates for selling these, to the advantage of all the beneficiaries. It is also possible that the sale of shares may result in a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) liability. 

Charities are exempt from paying CGT, and in most instances we can avoid payment on our share. If you think that the shares might sell for a value greater than the probate value, please get in touch with us.

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Does the estate include property or land?

Like above, if this is the case we always ask to see at least two written valuations for the property. The reason for this is so we can be confident that the value for which the property is being marketed is correct.  

Once an offer has been accepted, depending on the value of the property at the date of death and date of sale, a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) liability may arise. 

As a registered charity, Macmillan Cancer Support is exempt from paying CGT. We may also require a special surveyors report so please get in touch with us to discuss how we can make sure no CGT is paid on our share.

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Does the estate include foreign assets?

Foreign assets can be complicated to realise. We would always recommend that you seek professional advice. 

Although we are unable to give advice about foreign assets, we may have contacts that are able to assist you.

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Do I need to know anything about Inheritance tax?

If a will gifts more than 10% of the taxable estate to charity, the amount of Inheritance Tax (IHT) payable is reduced from 40% to 36%. This can benefit all beneficiaries of the estate.  

You may also find it useful to know that in most cases charities are exempt from paying IHT. If you have any questions about this, please get in touch with us.

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Do charities pay income tax?

As a registered charity we are able to reclaim all income tax paid during the administration of the estate from HMRC. 

This includes our share of tax paid on bank and building society interest and on dividends. We therefore ask that you supply a tax deduction certificate or form R185 (Estate Income) to us at the end of the administration. Please contact us if you would like help in completing these forms.

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Is there anything else that you need?

At the end of the administration we would appreciate seeing a copy of the Estate Accounts. These are the final accounts showing the transactions that have taken place over the course of the administration. These do not need to be complex, just a list of the asset values realised and the payments made. 

We ask for these as we are tightly audited and regulated. We need to be able to show how, and why, we have received the amount we have from any estate from which we are lucky enough to benefit.  We would also love to know why we were remembered in someone’s will. This isn’t a necessity but it does help put our work into perspective.

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