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Types of gift and example wording

The same considerations apply to gifts to charities as gifts to individuals.  In some cases a cash gift will be appropriate.  But if a client wants to benefit a charity in a more significant way, it may be preferable to give a share of the residue.  This can also ensure that the charity does not receive a disproportionately large (or small) share of the client’s estate if the value of the estate fluctuates sharply.

If your client is uncertain which charities to benefit, you can consider a discretionary gift, leaving the choice to their executors.  This can also be useful if your client does not want the identity of their chosen charities to be known.  In this situation a client can (and should) leave a letter setting out their wishes.

Here are some illustrative clauses that could be included in a Will to ensure that a charitable gift does not fail.  This list is not meant to be exhaustive or exclusive.

Pecuniary legacy

I leave to (CHARITY NAME) of (CHARITY ADDRESS) Charity Registration Number: (xxxxxxx) the sum of £ (to be completed) (amount in words) for its general purposes and I direct that the receipt of the Treasurer or other duly authorised officer shall be a sufficient discharge to my executors.

Specific legacy

I leave to (CHARITY NAME) of (CHARITY ADDRESS) Charity Registration Number: (xxxxxxx) (description of item) absolutely for the general purposes of the said charity and I direct that the receipt of the Treasurer or other duly authorised officer shall be a sufficient discharge to my executors.

Residuary legacy

I leave to (CHARITY NAME) of (CHARITY ADDRESS) Charity Registration Number: (xxxxxxx) (proportion of residue to be completed) for its general purposes and I direct that the receipt of the Treasurer or other duly authorised officer shall be a sufficient discharge to my executors.

If your client wishes to divide their residue between charities and private individuals, it is essential that you ask them whether the division should be on a gross division basis or a net division basis.  See when leaving residue to IHT-liable and IHT-exempt beneficiaries for more information.

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