Leaving Legacies to Charity

Although the British public spends millions every year on donating money to charity, only a small percentage bequeath any of their Estate to charitable organisations in the event of their death – something which these organisations are quite understandably keen to encourage, given that this source of funding is vital for them to remain in operation.

Most commonly found in Wills which include a legacy, is the instruction to leave a specific sum of money to a charity. However, it is also possible to leave a share of the entire Estate, which is usually worth considerably more to that organisation.

It is vital that your wish to leave either a sum of money or a portion of your Estate to one or more particular charitable organisations is made clearly in the instructions in your Will. Unfortunately, as has been the case in several instances, it may be that your family or other potential beneficiaries could contest this decision after your demise, so your instructions must be absolutely transparent. Similarly, it may be appropriate, if a person or number of individuals are to be left out of a Will, to leave a letter explaining why, to avoid any disappointment or resentment and a potential challenge to the Will, during the probate process.

To ensure that there is absolutely no misunderstanding, it is also good practice to give the full and correct name of the organisation or organisations to which you wish to leave a legacy, as well as their charity registration number.

Provided you have given the matter considerable thought and are clear in your wishes, leaving legacies to charity part of your Will is relatively straightforward for a professional Will writer. These types of legacies are usually exempt from Inheritance Tax liability, although your Will writer will be able to advise you in each particular instance.

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