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Giving a gift in your will: unravelling the misconceptions

2019 marks the tenth year since the first Remember A Charity Week, and its focus is now shifting from raising awareness about gifts in wills, to building understanding and inspiring supporters into taking action.

Sofia Tayton and Jessica Beddows, partners in Lodders Private Client team, unravel some of the biggest misconceptions about giving gifts in wills, and highlight the ways in which you can leave a legacy donation if you wish.

With more and more people concerned about making sure their children or grandchildren have financial security and can afford, for example, to buy a house, we often find that the suggestion of leaving a sum of money to charity is simply dismissed, by clients who have come to us about writing their will.

There are a number of misconceptions around leaving a gift in a will that could be responsible for this.

Misconceptions of leaving gifts

1. Only wealthy people leave gifts in wills

Many people believe that you if you are leaving a gift in your will, it has to be a large sum of money. However, small donations also make an enormous difference to charities, which rely on gifts of all sizes to continue their crucial work. According to Remember a Charity, if every person who passed away in England and Wales in 2017 left just £100 pounds to charity, over £53 million would have been raised for charitable causes that year.

2. Leaving a gift is a very complicated process

It’s a common belief that it is very complicated to update a will in order to leave a gift to charity. However, a gift can usually be added to an existing will using a codicil. A codicil is a straightforward document that allows you to make amendments to an existing will, instead of completely rewriting an already written version. It is a lot cheaper than creating a new will and can be done quickly.

3. Gifts have to be money

Another common misconception is that gifts left in wills have to be monetary donations (also known as pecuniary gifts). You can in fact also leave objects or assets (specific gifts) and a percentage of an estate (residuary gifts). When people donate objects or assets, charities can sell them to raise money.

How do you leave a gift in your will?

There are different ways in which you can leave a gift to a charity in your will.

You can gift a set amount, whereby you set aside a particular sum that you’d like to leave to the charity of your choosing. Alternatively, you could opt to gift a percentage of your money or your assets to charity.

You can donate to any charity you choose, whether it be a small local project or a global organisation. If you do decide that you wish to leave a gift, make a note of the charity name, address and registered charity number. You will need to provide your solicitor with these details when they create or update your Will.

Lodders Private Client team can help with all aspects of wills, trusts, estates and tax planning and care and capacity matters.

For questions or queries regarding leaving a gift to charity in your will, or for help with making or updating a will, please contact a member of our Private Client team on 01789 293259 or via email.

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For more information, please contact a member of our Private Client team on 01789 293259 or via email