Overhaul of Wills ‘critical’ for legacy giving

13 July 2017

Remember A Charity welcomes the Law Commission’s proposals and consultation to overhaul the current laws on Wills, saying that this could be ‘critical’ for legacy giving.

Proposals include softening the strict formality rules, a new mental capacity test which takes into account the modern understanding of conditions like dementia, and a suggestion that the age for making a Will should be lowered from 18 to 16.

Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity, says: “When you consider that hundreds of thousands of people in the UK die intestate each year, leaving no clear guidelines as to how any assets should be divided among their family, friends and good causes, it is long overdue that the Will-writing process is made more accessible, helping ensuring that people’s final wishes will be met.

“If the legal sector succeeds in making it easier for people to write a Will, while putting adequate safeguards in place for the public and minimising the opportunity for contested Wills, this could be a critical step forward for legacy giving.

“Ultimately, the more people that write a Will, the greater the potential for including a charitable donation. Even if just a small percentage of people who die intestate were to leave a gift in their Will, this could help close the gap between those that have the desire to give through Wills (35%)[1] and the 6%[2] of people that leave a charitable legacy. This could potentially raise millions for good causes each year.”

[1] Remember A Charity 2013

[2] Smee and Ford 2016