Donating to Charity When You Make a Will

Author:
Grace Serwanga
Partner, Private Client Solicitor
Date:
09/09/2019

You may not know this but many charities across the UK receive large amounts of their annual income from people leaving a legacy when they make a Will. One in five UK charities receive more than £500,000 a year in legacies and in 2017, £2.85 billion was left to charity by people in the UK. But only 6% of people actually leave a gift to a charity when making a Will.

Many people who have benefited from a particular charity’s work will want to leave something in their Will as a thank you for the support they had and to secure those services for other people after they die.

Tax Benefits of Leaving a Legacy to Charity

There are some benefits to your family if you leave a legacy to a charity in your Will. Inheritance Tax is being paid more frequently now. This is because house prices have risen so much, many Estates are being pushed over the threshold which means they have to pay Inheritance Tax.

One of the benefits of a charitable legacy is that any amount you gift to charity is not included in the total taxable value of your Estate. In addition, if you leave at least 10% of your Estate to charity, you can reduce the rate of Inheritance Tax. It will lower from 40% to 36%, which could result in a significant saving for your loved ones.

This means that you can make sure that the causes you care about can continue operating and your family can pay less Inheritance Tax, which is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

How Do I Leave a Legacy in My Will?

This really depends on whether you’ve already written a Will or not. If you haven’t made a Will yet you should make an appointment with our Wills and Trust Solicitors so you can get your Will written.

There are many benefits to writing a Will. Your family is protected and you can make a decision about who you want your Estate to be given to. This includes any charitable legacies. Without a Will in place, none of this will happen.

When you’re making a Will, you’ll have to consider lots of things including who you want to be Executor of your Will, who will be your beneficiaries and who will look after your children if you die before they reach adulthood.

Alongside all of this information, you need to make sure you have all the information you need about the charity or charities you want to leave a legacy to. 

There are many different charities with similar names so to avoid doubt, and to make sure your legacy goes to the right charity, make a note of the charity’s name and find their registered charity number. You can find these on the Charity Commission’s website.

When you’re at your Will writing appointment, just tell your Wills and Trust Solicitor that you want to leave a legacy to charity and they’ll do the rest for you.

When they send you the draft Will for you to approve, make sure you check all these details again so there are no doubts on which charity should receive the money when you die.

What Happens If I Already Have a Will?

You have a couple of options if you already have a Will. The first is to simply write another one. This may work if your Will has been written a while and needs to be updated but if you’ve only recently written one, you may not want to do it all over again.

Your second option is to add a codicil to your existing Will. Codicils are used to make minor changes to a Will. So you could use a Codicil to add a gift to charity in your Will but if that gifts affects to structure of your Will in any way, you will need to make a new Will.

Leaving a charitable legacy is a great way to support a charity that’s close to your heart. Speak to a Wills and Trusts Solicitor to make sure you leave your legacy behind.

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