11 November 2014
With thoughts today reflecting on military charities and the incredibly moving display of poppies at the Tower of London, it seems fitting to be writing about Remember A Charity. Most individuals have at least one charity close to their heart. For some this is because they have been inspired to fundraise through challenges, ranging from ice buckets to sky diving. For others the need for charities is more pressing, either for themselves or for family or friends.
Although three quarters of Britons regularly give to charity in their lifetimes, only 7.3% currently include a charity when writing a Will. Despite this small percentage, the legacies which are made in Wills make up the financial foundation of many of Britain’s charities, with legacy income currently worth over £2 billion a year. To put it into context, this is the equivalent of almost 20 Comic Reliefs. If it was not for the gifts left to charities in Wills, many charities would struggle to exist and others would have to cut vital services.
Remember A Charity in your Will Week is an annual awareness week which took place in September this year. It is promoted by a consortium of over 140 charities whose work focuses on encouraging more people to consider leaving a gift to charity when writing a Will. The scheme has been supported by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners since its launch in 2002, and this year Remember A Charity Week generated widespread national media coverage, working with various partners including The Law Society.
Research by the Cabinet Office and Remember A Charity has shown that three times as many Britons would leave a charitable legacy if their solicitor mentioned it to them during the Will-writing process. This shows that as a professional adviser, solicitors have an important role to play in ensuring that our clients are aware that their Will is a powerful way for them to contribute to charities. Remember A Charity aims to change the public’s perception of giving so that, over time, legacy giving will become the norm for the many, rather than the few.
You don’t have to be rich and famous to make a contribution that can make a difference, but by instructing a solicitor to draft your Will you are ensuring that everything is arranged just as you would like it to be.
To find a solicitor in your local area, click here.
Emma Gray, solicitor at Stephens Scown LLP