Remember a charity in your Will

08 September 2020

Co-op Legal Services is supporting Remember a Charity Week for the 7th year running. Remember a Charity works to highlight the importance of passing on something wonderful by leaving charitable gifts in Wills.

Gifts in Wills (also called charitable legacies) are an essential source of fundraising for charities. Without them many of the charities we know, and in some cases rely on, might be unable to continue with their vital work.

Charitable gifts in Wills can help to push forward life-saving research, lift people out of poverty and preserve our environment for future generations.

Cancer Research UK explains:

"Without legacy gifts, Cancer Research UK would not have made such incredible progress. Our research is world-leading. We have been integral in seeing 10-year cancer survival in the UK go from 1 in 4 people in the 1970s to 2 in 4 people today. And a third of what we fund can be attributed to legacies." – Cancer Research UK

Increase in charitable legacies during lockdown

At Co-op Legal Services we've seen charitable donations in Wills increase by 56% in the last 12 months. The sharpest increase happened during lockdown, with legacy gifting increasing by 81% between 23 March and 30 June, compared with the same period last year.

Gifts to cancer charities remain the most common legacy gifts our Will Writers see, and these have seen the most significant uplift, with an increase of 77% during lockdown. Gifts to local causes have also increased significantly, and these are the second most common types of charitable gifts we now see being left.

James Antoniou, Head of Wills, said: "It's moving to see that at such a difficult time for so many, people are still including gifts to charities within their wills. Interestingly, in addition to monetary gifts, we've seen some unique personal effects such as a collection of guitars and a classic red mini being left to charity through wills.

This increase in generosity will make a huge difference to charitable causes and just shows why it's so important for people wanting to make this difference that they do put a will in place".

Things to remember when leaving a gift to charity in your Will

  • There aren't set rules to follow when choosing which charity to leave a gift to. Most people will choose a cause they're passionate about or a charity that has helped them or a loved one in the past.

  • A gift left to a registered charity in a Will is exempt from Inheritance Tax. Ask for the charity's tax exempt reference number to check they're eligible for this exemption.

  • You can leave anything you own to charity, including property, land, shares, money or a specific personal possession. If you'd like the charity to use the gift for something in particular, discuss this with them to make sure it's feasible.

  • You can leave any number of gifts to any number of charities - there's no limit. But it is important to think carefully about exactly what you'd like to leave to which charity.

  • A full list of registered charities in England and Wales can be found on the Charity Commission's website.

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