Remember a Charity in Your Will - and be a Legend

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Charity supporters who have taken part in this year’s Ice Bucket Challenge are being urged to make a lasting difference by remembering a charity in their will.

Good causes have seen donations rocket as the ice bucket phenomenon spread across social media over the summer.

But law firm Blake Morgan is now urging people to make sure support for charities doesn’t cool off after the ice craze runs dry.

Rachel Brooks, partner in private law at Blake Morgan is asking people to think seriously about whether they could make a longer-lasting impact by leaving a charity legacy in their will.

The reminder comes at the launch of Remember a Charity in your Will Week, which takes place from September 8 to 14 and is a national campaign aimed at encouraging people to support good causes as they make arrangements for after they’ve gone.

Rachel said: “This has been a fantastic summer for charities, with the ice bucket challenge helping to raise awareness of charity giving in a way that is fun and has caught the imagination of people who perhaps wouldn’t otherwise consider giving.

“The campaign will give a much-needed boost to the coffers of many charities – and that’s very welcome. However, once the craze has died down it will still be important for good causes to maintain their income.

“Remembering a charity in your will is one way of helping to secure the future for the good causes that you support.

“So many good causes rely on legacies and the number of gifts they receive can mean the difference between them thriving or failing to survive. It’s also important to get the right advice to make sure that the gift you leave goes where it was intended.”

Remember a Charity says three quarters of Britons regularly give to charity in their lifetimes, yet only 6% currently include a charity when writing a will.

Nevertheless gifts in wills are still the foundation of many of Britain’s charities, creating almost £2 billion each year -  the equivalent of 19 Comic Reliefs.

Without this income, many charities would simply not exist and others would have to cut crucial services.

Rachel has the following tips if you’re considering remembering a charity in your will:

  • Know its name – there can be more than one charity with a similar name. Make sure you know what the charity is registered as, and its registered charity number. You can find charities listed at www.charity-commission.gov.uk.
  • Make sure it gets there – be careful if you want to specify that you’d like a gift to be used for a specific purpose. If that purpose fails to exist when you die the gift would fail. Check with the charity whether they would have any difficulties carrying out your instruction. Consider leaving the money to the charity and expressing the wish that the funds be used for a specific purpose rather than creating a binding obligation that they must be used for that purpose.
  • Plan properly - make sure your will makes provision for what happens if a charity changes its name or merges with another charity.
  • Taxing problems – if the will mixes gifts to charities and to family/friends, then tax on the family/friends’ inheritance may be reduced to 36 per cent rather than 40 per cent. A lawyer will be able to advise you on the tax consequences of your gift.

For more information about Remember a Charity Week, see www.rememberacharity.org.uk