Leaving a gift to a charity in your Will

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With so many of us supporting charities, clients often ask us if they can leave a gift to a charity within their Will. Of course, leaving a charitable gift in your Will is a nice thing to do, however it is important to seek appropriate advice as leaving such a gift is not as straightforward as you may think.

What information do I need when leaving a gift to a charity in my Will?

When leaving a gift to a charity within your Will, it is important to check that it is registered with the Charity Commission. Some charities have a number of registered charity numbers, which relate to different areas that their charities look after. It is therefore important to check that the correct charity number is included within your Will, so that the funds are appropriated to the correct charitable organisation.

What if I want to the money I leave to a charity to be used in a specific way?

In addition, when making a gift to a charity, clients often have specific instructions as to how they wish their money to be used. For example, a client may wish to leave money to a hospital but only to be used for a certain department, maybe one that has looked after them previously or a family member. Another example is that some people may wish to leave money to a local hospice, but to support the payment of travel for patients to and from the hospice and again, this can be stipulated within your Will. Without giving specific instructions, the charities can use the monies for whichever charitable purpose they see fit. Although this may be suitable for some people, for others it might not and therefore it is important to take the appropriate advice.

Can I leave my entire estate to a charity?

In some cases, clients wish to leave their entire estates to a charity. Careful drafting must be considered here, as without a specific clause within your Will dealing with personal effects such as family heirlooms, jewellery and photographs, the charity would be entitled to receive all money, together with all household contents and personal items. This can be extremely distressing for family members, especially those who may wish to collect personal effects of their loved ones.

What are the tax implications for leaving a gift to a charity in my Will?

When making your Will it is important to take the appropriate inheritance tax advice and when it comes to charitable giving, there are tax advantages.

A gift to a charity within your Will is free of inheritance tax, however if you leave more than 10% of the net value of your Estate to charity, the remainder of your Estate will pay a lower inheritance tax rate of 36% instead of 40%.

As with any gift within your Will, it is important to take legal advice to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the way that you want them to when you are no longer around. It is also important to make sure that any gifts to a charity are used how you would want them to be but not to the detriment of any family members or loved ones.

If you would like advice on making gifts to a charity in your Will, please contact us on 01279 295047 and we will be very happy to help you.

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