Supporting a sustainable future
Frequently asked questions about legacies
How can I leave money to a friend/charity?
First you need to make a will. The best way to do this is by using a solicitor who can ensure what’s on paper exactly matches your wishes in a legally approved way.
Then you decide whom you wish to be beneficiaries: family, friends, charities, etc.
Then you decide what kind of gift to leave. The main ones are:
- Pecuniary – for a specific amount of money
- Residuary – the residue of your estate when all debts have been paid and all other bequests made
- Specific – a named item: jewellery, a work of art or a cherished memento.
I have a special request – is it possible at Garden Organic Ryton?
As a living, organic site we are often asked about special requests. Please contact us, as each request is different, but in the past we have helped people in the following ways at Garden Organic Ryton.
- Scattering of ashes
- Planting and dedicating trees
- Dedicating benches
- Recording contributions to particular gardens
Contact the Chief Executive to discuss your wishes in more detail.
What happens if one of my beneficiaries dies before me?
Your solicitor can draft the will in such a way that if one of your beneficiaries dies, either the gift reverts to the main estate (reversionary will) or that another person is nominated (conditional).
Your solicitor can advise you on either option.
What’s Inheritance Tax and who pays?
Inheritance Tax (what used to be known as death duties) is levied on estates worth more than £263,000 (in Financial Year 2004/05). The tax is 40% of the remainder of the estate.
Your solicitor can advise you on ways to reduce this amount but one example is through a charitable bequest. Legacy gifts to charities are not taxed. Also, they are taken out of your account before it is assessed for tax, so reducing your tax liability.
For people who own a house and live in the south east, there is a high likelihood that their total estate will be over the Inheritance Tax threshold and therefore, tax will be liable on the estate.
Can I leave a legacy to fund a specific Garden Organic project?
Garden Organic undertakes a range of projects. We also need to develop different gardens on a regular basis. However, most projects are finite and once finished we move on to the next initiative. For this reason it is not recommended that you leave money to a specific project. To put it simply, the project could be completely finished by the time the will comes into force. For this reason we ask for your gift to be to our ‘general purposes’ and then it will be put to the next important project.
Alternatively, if you want to support a specific area of work such as our research, our Gardens, our education work, our outreach projects or our international work, then you can specify one of these areas as these will be ongoing.
Why do I need a solicitor? How can I find one?
A will is a legal document. If you have gone to the trouble to think about what you want to leave to whom, you want to make sure that it will occur exactly as you wished it when the will comes into force. The only certain way to do this is to use a professional advisor to draw up your will. This usually means using a solicitor but you could also ask your bank manager or other financial adviser.
If you do not have a solicitor you can ask friends and acquaintances if they have recommendations, or you can look in Yellow Pages. When contacting a solicitor ask if they specialise in ‘wills and probate’ and ask for their charges. Some may offer an initial meeting for free. Some may come to your house if mobility is an issue. Some may work outside normal office hours.
Will making a will be expensive?
A fairly straightforward will will not be particularly expensive. Think rather of it as an investment in the future – and a sense of peace of mind for you that all your affairs are in order.
Not making a will may be much more costly to your family in the long run.
- We’d like to leave our smallholding in trust to Garden Organic, for you to manage. Is this possible?
Garden Organic gets many requests like this and we quite understand them. Each family has put much hard work, energy and commitment to organic principles into every spadeful of earth turned and kilo of produce achieved.
However, whenever an organisation takes over a property a whole raft of policies, rules and regulations come into force:
First, this would mean it would cost Garden Organic to run such a property so, for Garden Organic to consider it, the property needs to come with an endowment.
We have to consider what would happen if there was no-one who wanted to take the site on because it is too small/big/remote, etc. If Garden Organic could not find a tenant, we would have to run it – but we don’t have the staff resources to do this.
If the smallholding were a perpetual trust then there would be no income to Garden Organic above nominal rents, which would be unlikely to cover our costs. This would give the net effect of a drain on resources.
If we wanted to use such a site for demonstration purposes, then good access/parking, etc. is required.
Lawrence Hills realised that, in order for the organic message and principles he believed in to be shared with a larger audience, he needed to leave a legacy to Garden Organic. Originally his will gave the house and land at Bocking to Garden Organic. However, before he died, he realised that Bocking’s size, lack of parking, narrow paths and cramped conditions were less than ideal for showing people the best organic way. So, when the opportunity to move to Ryton came up, he realised the benefit of this move. He agreed to the Bocking site being sold and all the proceeds used for Garden Organic (with a bungalow being built at Ryton for Lawrence and Cherry).
In selling, though, he made no constraints about ‘only organic gardens and sustainable housing’ on the builders. Instead he recognised the need to move forward and give more people the opportunity to experience and understand the organic approach by moving from Bocking’s 2 acres to Ryton’s 22.
Garden Organic (and endorsed by members) would dearly love to open new sites across the UK, but they have to be owned, be of a worthwhile size, near to centres of population, able to have key buildings erected, and room for a car park. This necessitates us finding new sites. To do this we need substantial legacy gifts given by people who want to commit to a bigger organic, sustainable future, even at the risk of having their own precious organic acres used for other purposes.
From his house and small acres, due to inflation and location, the 22 acre site at Ryton was purchased for Garden Organic and a new future began. While Lawrence believed totally in standing by his organic principles, he also realised when a greater good could be realised. As a result of Lawrence’s vision, tens of thousands of people are able to visit Garden Organic Ryton annually, to see what we have, and they could, achieve.
Anyone wanting to discuss leaving a property/site to Garden Organic should contact the Chief Executive, but we ask you to consider it in this context.
For more information, or to discuss how a legacy gift could be used, please contact
Myles Bremner, Chief Executive, Garden Organic, Garden Organic Ryton, Coventry CV8 3LG
Telephone 024 7630 8207 or email firstname.lastname@example.org