Selling assets

If a charity has been given specific assets, or if the charity is a residuary beneficiary, often assets will need to be sold to realise the value of the bequest to the charity.

Land or property

If the asset concerned is land or property it is helpful to charities to have notification of these significant assets and be given details regarding the marketing, sale price and offers received.  In all cases the property should be exposed to the open market, and if it has development potential charities appreciate being informed of this and being closely involved in any decisions.  Charities may have relationships with local estate agents or surveyors that could facilitate any sale and often have considerable experience in this area.

If property or land is appropriated to a charity before sale, charity law usually requires a special valuation report.  Charities can usually arrange this and it is advisable to contact them directly.

Shares or investments

With shares or investments charities often prefer that the assets are appropriated to them so that Capital Gains tax can be avoided.


Some larger charities have a network of shops that are often able to help with house clearances.  Some smaller local charities (especially hospices) also have a shop that may be able to help.  Many charities also have relationships with firms of national auctioneers who will sell specific items left to the charity.   As with property, the probate valuation should always be at market value at the time of death, and in all cases it is helpful to notify the charity as soon as possible.

Sending the legacy

When you are ready please send a cheque for the appropriate amount directly to the charity. It is helpful to include a final version of the estate accounts if it is a residual legacy, or a reference to the specific clause in the Will if it is a specific or pecuniary legacy. Payments can also often be made by bank transfer. In all cases please contact the charity to determine the best way to send the gift.