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How can I leave money to charity in my Will?

View profile for James Hammersley
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How can I leave money to charity in my Will?

We often get questions from clients regarding Legacy Giving (leaving money to charity in a Will).

In his first article, Wills & Tax Partner James Hammersley answers some of these questions...

Can I leave money to charity in my Will?

Yes, it is possible to leave a charitable donation in your Will. This is known as legacy or a charitable bequest.

Leaving money to charity is a lovely way of supporting a worthy cause, perhaps something that is close to your heart, and is something that many people choose to include in their Will.

Does leaving money to charity reduce inheritance tax?

Inheritance Tax is not be payable on any charitable donation to a registered UK charity.

For this reason, making a donation to charity can be a good way of reducing your overall Inheritance Tax liability (whilst helping out a charitable cause).

If you leave at least 10% of your estate to charity, you may qualify to pay a reduced rate of Inheritance Tax at 36% (this is reduced from the usual 40% rate).

How to leave money to charity in your Will

There are two ways that you can leave money to a charity in your Will. You can either:

  • Name a specific charity that you wish to donate to, or
  • Let the trustees of your Will decide which charity gets what

If you choose the first option, we advise that you include the charity’s registered number in your Will; to ensure that the donation is made to the right place.

You can find a charity’s registered number by using the Gov.uk charity register search here.

What can I leave to charity in my Will?

You may wish to make a charitable donation of something other than money in your Will. Here’s a list of eligible gifts:

  • A cash amount
  • A property or an asset
  • Your residuary estate or a share of it (anything left after gifts, debts, funeral expenses, probate fees, court fees and inheritance tax are paid)

Can charity donations in a Will be contested?

There is legislation found under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants Act 1975 that allows certain family members, for example children to make a claim, against your estate if they have not been left sufficient provision in the Will.

Financial dependants are those who were financially reliant on you prior to your death, this may include your children, family members, friends etc.  

There are other grounds that someone could contest your Will, including:

  • Forgery and fraud
  • Lack of testamentary capacity (essentially, a lack of legal and/or mental ability when creating or altering a Will)
  • Lack of knowledge and approval (parts of Will weren’t read and/or understood by you)
  • Wills Act 1837 (Requirements that the Will needs to be compliant with to be valid)
  • Undue influence (coerced into making a decision within the Will)

Find out more about disputed Wills here.

Can I leave everything to a charity in my Will?

In the UK, it’s possible to leave everything to a charity within your Will; providing that you ‘reasonably’ provide for your financial dependents.

How can we help?

Our specialist Wills & Tax Team would be happy to assist you in the creation or revision of your Will.

We can help ensure that:

  • Your wishes are best reflected within your Will,
  • You’re able to support a charity of your choice,
  • Your financial dependents are provided for, and
  • Your Will is compliant

Wills & Tax Solicitors

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our bright team. We offer a free initial chat for all new clients.

You can call us on 01202 499255 or fill in the form at the top of the page.

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