Our legacy promise to you

If you decide to make us a beneficiary of your Will, we will ensure that you are in control of every aspect of the process and your wishes are respected. This is how we will treat you.

local conservationists

Our 12 Point Code of Conduct

  1. We absolutely recognise that your family and friends come first in your Will.
  2. We will always treat you fairly when giving you the opportunity to leave a gift to the BES.
  3. We will never intrude on your privacy by telephoning you, unless you explicitly ask us to do so.
  4. We will never bombard you with e-mails.
  5. We will never ask you about the size or type of legacy, unless you volunteer that information.
  6. We will alway keep your intentions private, unless you specifically ask us to make them public.
  7. We will keep your personal data safe and will never pass it on  to another organisation or individual.
  8. We understand that circumstances change and there may be a time where you need to take BES out of your Will.
  9. If you do decide to take BES out of your Will you are under no obligation to inform us.
  10. If you decide to inform us that you have taken BES out of your Will, we will respect your decision and make no attempt to influence you to change your mind.
  11. We are happy to meet you to discuss your wishes, but only if this is your preferred option.
  12. We promise to use your gift wisely to accomplish our mission to, ‘generate, communicate and promote ecological knowledge and solutions’.

Please note that the British Ecological Society (BES) does not employ the services of external fundraising agencies. All our Wills and legacies activity is delivered in-house. No part of any gift or bequest that you make to the BES will be paid in commission to a fundraiser or fundraising agency.

Types of legacy

If you are considering a legacy gift in the United Kingdom, there are four main types of bequest, some of which may be more appropriate to your wishes and personal circumstances than others.

Residuary – This is a gift of a percentage of your estate following the distribution of specific gifts and payment of any debts or expenses.  This could be just 1% of your estate or it could be 100%. The choice is yours.

Pecuniary – This is a financial gift of money or shares. Remember that the real of value of a cash gift is likely to decline with inflation.

Specific – This is a gift of an item such a a historic document or a first edition.  If you are considering a specific bequest, please contact us in advance to make sure that BES is the right home for your gift.  Please tell us if you are happy or not, for us to sell your specific gift to generate further income to support the work of ecologists.

Reversionary – This is a gift of an asset such as a house or apartment which can be enjoyed by a chosen beneficiary such as a partner or spouse during her or his lifetime before reverting to the BES.

Please contact your legal representative to choose the type of bequest that is right for you.

In compliance with the Code of Fundraising Practice 18.3.3(a) 2017 BES staff, volunteers or trustees will not be involved in  any way in the preparation, drafting or witnessing of any Will or codicil to a Will that is in favour of our charity. We will never share your personal information with another organisation.


In the 2016/17 tax year, everyone is allowed to leave an estate valued at up to a £325,000 without their beneficiaries paying tax on it. The amount is set by the Government and is called the nil-rate band. Above that amount, anything you leave behind is subject to tax of 40% (or 36% if you leave at least 10% of your assets to a charity).

So for example, if you leave behind assets worth £500,000, your estate pays nothing on the first £325,000, and 40% on the remaining £175,000 – a total of £70,000 in tax. That is if you are not leaving anything to a charity such as BES.  Officially, the £325,000 nil rate band has been frozen until at least 2020/21, though the additional main residence allowance will be brought in from 2017 onwards.

Leaving a legacy  to charity could reduce the amount of inheritance tax payable above the £325,000 nil rate band.

BES does not encourage tax avoidance or offer advice on taxation issues. Please contact a qualified financial adviser or tax accountant if you need advice on the impact leaving a legacy will have on your estate’s tax liabilities.