Don’t forget the charities

24 November 2014

Making a Will is an important step for anyone; time needs to be spent thinking about who should benefit from your estate when you die and any precise wishes you may have. However, you might be surprised to know that whilst two thirds of us give to charities during our lifetime, only 6% of us leave charitable gifts in our Wills. I was!

The wonderful charities that we have today will only continue if their incoming cash is maintained. By leaving a gift to your favourite charity in your Will you are helping secure a future for a cause that is important to you. Every gift is appreciated, large or small.

If you are going to leave a charitable gift in your Will, it’s important to ensure that you have the correct charity name. You should check their registered name and number on The Charity Commission. For example, you may wish to leave a gift to ‘Age UK’, but do you mean the national charity or the local Winchester based charity? You also need to specify what you would like to happen to your gift if the charity changes its name or merges with another – to ensure that your gift does not fail.

Make accepting your gift as easy as possible for the charity by leaving it to be used for their general purposes. If you prefer to limit it, it is better to express a wish that your money be used for a certain purpose, rather than to create a binding obligation for the charity.

Also, don’t forget that gifts to charity are free from inheritance tax. If your estate is actually taxable, when you leave a certain proportion of your estate to charity you could pay a reduced rate of inheritance tax overall!

Three times as many people would leave a gift to charity in their Will if their solicitor mentioned it to them. I always ensure that I present my clients with this option. After all, most people have a cause that is close to their heart…

Leaving a charitable legacy is not only for the rich and famous – after your family have been provided for, why not be a Living Legend and leave a gift to your favourite charity?

Abbey Adams, solicitor at Blake Morgan LLP