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International Day of Charity 2021 - Why leave to charity in your Will?

10 September 2021 Written by Davidson Shirley Solicitors Category: Wills & Estates

Many people decide to leave money to a charity of their choice in their Will. Some people do this to cut down on their inheritance tax liability, so that the amount of tax paid on the rest of their estate is diminished, while others want to leave money to a cause they are passionate about. 

As we celebrate International Day of Charity on 5th September 2021, here is a simple guide to leaving money to charity in your Will.  

The benefits of leaving to charity

Did you know that legacy gifts (Will donations) make up a significant part of most charitable organisations' incomes? If you leave a gift to charity in your Will, you have around 150,000 registered UK charities to choose from, and can help them in their important work. These can be large charities, or smaller, more local ones, depending on the cause you are passionate about. Most charities do not receive Lottery or government funding, and therefore rely on donations from the public to keep going and all donations to UK-based charities are tax-free.  

If you do decide to make a donation to charity in your Will, this gift could help to save the lives of people, animals, help those with terminal illnesses, help fund research or disabled people, among many other things. Many charities also use Will donations to fund new initiatives or projects. 

Is there a limit on how much you can donate to charity?

There is no minimum or maximum value you can donate – every pound and penny makes a difference. Those leaving money to charity in their Will typically leave a gift to local hospitals or hospices, animal charities, educational or religious organisations, humanitarian organisations, children's charities, disabled charities, or those funding medical research. Remember that if you die without a Will, you will not be able to give money to charity.

How do I leave money to charity in my Will?

You can leave money to charity in your Will in two ways – you can either leave it to the trustees of your Will to decide upon the organisation the money goes to, or you can specify a particular charity or organisation in your Will yourself. 

You can leave the funds to as many charities as you wish. Use their registered charity numbers in the Will to avoid confusion, and to ensure the money goes to the correct organisation, because charities can sometimes change their names and branding. If you decide to leave the donation to your trustees, give them a clear indication of your wishes. Your gift to a charity can be a cash sum, asset or property, or a share of your estate after costs and taxation. 

Your Will must still provide for any dependents under the Inheritance Act. If it does not do this, a family member could contest your donation to charity in order to get the finances they need as a dependent. A family member can also contest the gift if they believe that you were not aware of what you were doing or mentally incapable when making the decision. 

Contact our Estate Planning Solicitors in Lanark, Motherwell & Wishaw, Scotland

At Davidson & Shirley Solicitors, we can help you to leave a donation or gift to charity in your Will while advising you on various aspects of estate planning, inheritance tax planning, care costs, and asset protection. Our team offers years of expertise and knowledge to give you the best personalised advice for your circumstances. Contact us on 01555 662576, or submit an enquiry via our online form.

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