Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about leaving a gift in your will to Macmillan? Take a look at our frequently asked questions below.

What basic information do I need to include when I’m leaving a gift in my will to Macmillan?

The most important bits of information to include are our name, address and registered charity number:

Macmillan Cancer Support
89 Albert Embankment

Registered charity in England and Wales (261017), Scotland (SC039907) and the Isle of Man (604).


How do I choose a solicitor?

It can be difficult to choose from the hundreds of solicitors available. You can use our Free Will Service to help you find a legal professional to write your will either online, via post, on the telephone, or face to face in-branch on at home.

Or, if you’d rather not use these services, we will be happy to send you a list of local solicitors from the Law Society. You can also contact them directly.

In England and Wales, go to, or call 020 7242 1222.

In Scotland, contact the Law Society of Scotland at, or call 013 1226 7411.

In Northern Ireland, contact the Law Society of Northern Ireland at, or call 028 9023 1614.


Can I make Macmillan Cancer Support the executor of my will if I am leaving my estate to the charity?

We are delighted that you are thinking about leaving us a legacy. As a Trust Corporation we are able to act as an executor or trustee and we would be honoured to act as executor of your estate.  It is important to note that we would instruct external solicitors to carry out the administration on our behalf so there may not be a cost saving to appointing us.  However, we would ensure that the fees charged are reasonable, the administration is carried out to a high standard and that your final wishes are met.


How can I change my existing will?

Your solicitor can help you to add a form called a codicil to your existing will. Don’t make changes yourself as it could render your existing will invalid if this isn’t done correctly.

Request our guide to will writing.


Gifts and wills and tax

Gifts in wills to charities are tax efficient. The threshold at which inheritance tax kicks in changes from time to time. You can find the current situation in ‘Your step by step guide’, which you can order online. But if your estate is going to attract inheritance tax, any gift you leave to Macmillan will be deducted from your estate before any tax liability is calculated. So, if your estate is £20,000 over the amount allowed as tax-free, and you leave Macmillan £2,000, then inheritance tax will only be payable on £18,000.

Also, from 6th April 2012, if you leave 10% or more of your estate to a charity, you’ll be taxed at a lower rate (36% rather than 40%) on any part of your estate that qualifies for inheritance tax.


What is the difference between a single will and a mirror will?

A single will is a will for an individual. Mirror wills are two separate wills which set out the same wishes within both. For example for two spouses or partners.

The two wills would essentially mirror what the other says.


How will Macmillan use gifts in wills?

Read our Annual Report to see just how far our supporters' gifts went last year.

Gifts in wills account for almost a third of all Macmillan's vital services.


Can I specify how my gift is used??

Absolutely. While it is important that Macmillan can invest in areas of greatest need while innovating and responding to the changing needs of people living with cancer, we understand you may want to fund a specific Macmillan service. If you want to specify how Macmillan should use your gift, please express this clearly alongside the gift in your Will.

Where your gift is for a specific purpose, we are bound to use the funds exactly as specified. This can sometimes present a challenge where a hospital or hospice has closed or moved, or if we are not funding a service at the specified location at the time of receiving the gift. In situations like these we would have to apply the Charity Commission to be able to use the funds as closely as possible to the original purpose and in the spirit of the gift.

To avoid these complications, we recommend you express your wishes in the form of a non-binding wish by saying “it is my wish but without creating any legally binding obligation that…”. Or specify a large geographical area rather than an address or building. Macmillan will aim to comply with your wishes but in the event of being unable to do so, we can use the gift as closely as possible to you wishes meaning your gift can be put to more immediate use to helping people living with cancer.