Which Charities Are Most Likely to Receive a Gift in a Will?

20 September 2019

At Co-op Legal Services our Will Writers prepare thousands of Wills per year, and over the past 12 months we have seen a 53% increase in the number of charitable gifts in Wills. The most popular charities that our Will Writers see gifts being left to are cancer charities. The second most popular are animal charities, followed by international charities.

Why Leave a Gift to Charity?

Gifts in Wills account for the single largest fundraising source for many charities. Any gift, no matter how small, can make a real difference to these charities, helping them to continue their important work.

For example, a third of the research funded by Cancer Research UK can be attributed to gifts in Wills. Their world-leading research has been integral in seeing cancer survival go from 1 in 4 people in the 1970s to 2 in 4 people today.

Top Ten Causes Receiving Gifts in Wills

Aside from cancer, animal and international charities, there are also a number of other causes that Co-op Wills clients are choosing to remember in their Wills. The most popular 10 causes are as follows:

  1. Cancer charities
  2. Animal charities
  3. International charities
  4. Children's charities
  5. Health, Well-being and local causes
  6. Help for the elderly
  7. Rescue organisations
  8. Religious causes
  9. Poverty and homelessness
  10. Hospices

In the last 12 months, we've seen an increase of 227% in gifts left to poverty and homelessness charities, and an increase of 174% in gifts to charities helping the elderly.

How Do People Choose which Charity to Leave a Gift To?

The motive behind leaving a gift to charity in a Will can be very personal, and there could be any number of reasons why someone chooses to leave a gift in their Will to a particular charity. It could be that they have a connection to the charity, or to the cause that it supports. They or one of their loved ones may have been helped by the charity, for example. Alternatively, it could simply be a cause that they feel strongly about, such as animal welfare or the environment.

Paul Oldham, from Manchester, recently made a Will with Co-op Legal Services which includes a gift to the Alzheimer's Society. Paul's reason is a personal one; his mother suffered from Alzheimer's disease before her death, and Paul cared for her during her final years.

In his Will, Paul has left 10% of his Estate to the Alzheimer's Society. He explained, "Making a Will is a very personal decision and I also think any little you can give to charity is a really good thing."

How to Leave a Gift to Charity in Your Will

If you would like to make a Will leaving a gift to charity, our Will Writers can provide practical guidance and help you to take that first step. There are no set rules to follow when it comes to leaving a gift to charity in your Will – you can choose to leave a small or large sum of money, a percentage of your Estate or a specific item. You can also include as many or as few charities as you wish.

An important point to consider when identifying suitable charities is that in order for them to qualify as an exempt beneficiary (for Inheritance Tax purposes) they will need to be officially registered as a charity. A full list of all charities registered in England and Wales can be found on the Charity Commission's website.

With our fixed fee Will Writing services, we will discuss your options with you, establish your requirements and make a Will that meets your needs while also providing for your chosen charity.

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