As a charity, we need your help to ensure a future for endangered wildlife. A gift to ZSL in your Will is one of the most powerful ways that you can support our natural world.
Every gift, no matter how large or small, will make a lasting and valued contribution to the work that we do to achieve positive change for the future of wildlife, people and planet. We are working around the world to support the mass recovery of wildlife. Working alongside local communities, our scientific research, reintroduction programmes, wildlife monitoring and animal health expertise helps species come back from the brink of extinction and flourish again.
At London and Whipsnade Zoos, we help to create lifelong connections with nature, inspiring and educating the next generation of conservationists. We understand that your family and loved ones come first, but we hope that, once you have provided for them, you will also remember ZSL.
We will use your gift with the greatest of care, in line with your wishes, to ensure that it makes a positive difference to the future of wildlife and our planet.
The natural world needs our support more than ever. Together, we can secure its future.
We also understand that your Will is private and we respect this - you don't even need to tell us that you intend to leave us a gift. However, if you do decide to include us in your Will you can help us to better plan for the future by letting us know. Importantly, it also means we can thank you for your incredibly generous support during your lifetime, inviting you to events and sharing updates about our global impact with you.
How you can support us
Gifts to ZSL without any restrictions are invaluable to us, enabling us to spend your gift where the need is greatest and helping us to plan for our future.
However, we warmly accept gifts for a particular use, for example helping to run our two Zoos, or to support our world-leading scientific research. If you would like a gift to help a particular area of work, please do get in touch so we can discuss your intentions and ensure your wishes are met.
One of our kind supporters, Delene Welch, an animal-loving former lawyer generously left London Zoo a legacy gift which helped us to improve areas of the Zoo, supporting our work to engage millions of people each year with the natural world. Delene, upon retiring, volunteered her free time at London, volunteering one day a week for 12 years. When she wrote her Will, she wanted more than anything to leave an enduring gift to the animals at the Zoo, leaving the bulk of her estate to be used 'for the benefit of animals' and divided the rest among friends, relatives and an animal home. Her incredible gift contributed to London Zoo's Rainforest Biome, Into Africa and Gorilla Kingdom.
Types of gifts you can leave ZSL in your Will
Leaving a gift to ZSL in your Will will make a lasting and valued contribution to the work we do, and it's easier than you may think.
When it comes to leaving a gift in to a charity in your Will, we like to think of the process consisting of in three straightforward steps:
- Make a decision on what type of gift you would like to give (this can be either a percentage of your entire estate, a fixed amount of money or a specific item).
We go into more detail on these below.
- Contact your solicitor or your preferred professional Will writing service.
- Provide the specific details on the gift you would like to give, with the specific charity number you would like to give the gift to.
We have provided suggested wording on how to add these gifts to your Will below.
What type of gift can I leave?
We typically receive two types of gift left to ZSL in Wills. These include a specific, or fixed amount of money which is known as a pecuniary gift and which is paid from your estate first. The second is a percentage or share of your estate, known as a residuary gift. A residue of your estate is the balance of your estate after tax, expenses and all other gifts in your Will have already been paid. It can be up to 100% but any percentage left to ZSL in your Will can make a real difference for wildlife.
You can see suggested wording for these types of gifts below, or you can print this guide and take it with you when you see your solicitor or professional Will writer.
We also benefit from other specific gifts, for example, personal posessions, land, buildings or shares. Please note however, that if a specific gift is no longer in your estate at the time of your death, the gift will fail.
We would recommend you use a qualified solicitor to discuss your Will, and they can advise you on which type of gift is best for you and your personal situation. If you do not have a solicitor already, you can find one by searching the STEP website or by using The Law Society's online database to find one in your area. Also, you may wish to ensure that your solicitor protects your gift by making sure it would still apply if ZSL were to change its name.
If you already have a Will that you are happy with but would like to include ZSL, you can write a codicil to add a gift to your existing Will. We recommend asking your solicitor or professional Will write to help you with this.
Lots of people worry about inheritance tax, but the good news is that by leaving a gift to ZSL in your Will you could help to reduce, even remove, the tax burden on your estate.
Inheritance tax may be payable on the value of a person's estate when they pass away, if the value of the estate exceeds the inheritance tax threshold (known as the nil rate band) set by the Government. Currently the inheritance tax threshold remains frozen at £325,000, and any amount above this would be potentially taxed at a rate of 40% depending on who receives the estate.
UK-registered charities are exempt from inheritance tax, so a gift to your charity in your Will is tax-free, both for the charity and your estate. For example, if your estate is worth £10,000 more than the tax threshold and, assuming Inheritance Tax is payable on your estate is worth £10,000 more than the tax threshold, and assuming Inheritance Tax is payable on your estate and is at 40% (the current rate), at the time of your death there would be Inheritance Tax of £4,000 (40% of £10,000) to be paid out of the estate. But, if you made a cash gift to ZSL of £10,000, the notional value of your estate would be reduced by that amount and there would be no tax to pay.
Also, to encourage charitable giving, the rate of inheritance tax is reduced from 40% to 30% when at least 10% of the net estate is left to charity.
Inheritance tax is a complex issue and your solicitor or financial advisor can advise you on the best way to take advantage of any financial benefits that may be relevant to you and your estate, including changes to tax rates when including family members as recipients in your Will. As a charity, we cannot offer legal or tax advice, and we recommend speaking with your solicitor if you wish to make or update your Will.
Suggested wording for a residuary gift (a percentage or share)
I give to the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Regent's Park, London, NW1 4RY (registered charity number 208728) [*all/___% of the residue] of my estate absolutely for its general purposes and I declare that the receipt of the Finance Director or other proper offices at ZSL for the time being shall be a sufficient discharge to my executor(s).
*please delete as appropriate
Suggested wording for a pecuniary gift (a fixed amount)
I give to the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Regent's Park, London, NW1 4RY (registered charity number 208728) the sum of £_____ free of tax for its general purposes and I declare that the receipt of the Finance Director or other proper offices at ZSL for the time being shall be a sufficient discharge to my executor(s).
Suggested wording for a specific item
I give to the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Regent's Park, London, NW1 4RY (registered charity number 208728) my _________ free of tax for its general purposes and I declare that the receipt of the Finance Director or other proper offices at ZSL for the time being shall be a sufficient discharge to my executor(s).