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Charitable legacies - benefits of leaving a gift in your will

06 September 2021

At Willans, we recognise that there is a wide range of local and national charities that our clients support through their lifetimes, whether this is through regular donations or through volunteer work.

We often see the continuation of this support after an individual’s death, with many now choosing to leave a monetary legacy to their chosen charities under the terms of their will.

Legacies left to a registered UK charity in your will are much appreciated by charities. They pass free of inheritance tax, having the benefit of the full legacy amount passing to that chosen charity and maximising the impact of your support.

In fact, as government funding in this respect is often unavailable or extremely limited, many charities rely heavily on donations and legacy payments under individuals’ wills as their main source of income.

Many individuals choose to nominate a specific purpose for the legacy, or a wish of how the monies should be used. Although stipulating a use for the legacy is possible, care should be taken when drafting such a condition. It is important to ensure that this is not too restrictive on the charity, but that the funds will still be used in accordance with your wishes.

Our wills, trusts and probate team have vast experience in drafting charitable legacies. We work closely with many local and national charities regarding the wording of legacies, ensuring that your legacy supports the work of that charity in the areas you most wish to benefit.

When it comes to tax planning for your own estate, leaving a charitable legacy under your will can also offer many benefits. It reduces the value of your estate chargeable to inheritance tax, and (if the necessary criteria are met) can also reduce the rate of any inheritance tax payable on assets passing to non-exempt beneficiaries (such as friends and families) from 40% to 36%.

If you haven’t yet made a will or would like to review your will with our specialist team, or simply wish to discuss the effect of including charitable legacies within your will, please contact a member of our specialist wills, trusts & probate team.

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Laura Stone LLB (Hons)
Associate, solicitor
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Laura Stone
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