One in four professionally drafted Wills includes gift to charity

Jul 26, 2023

A study has found that one quarter of all Wills drawn up by Will writers or solicitors now includes a charitable gift. The charity group Remember A Charity commissioned independent researcher Savanta to question those preparing Wills.

The results found that nearly three-quarters of those questioned (73%) always or sometimes mention the option of leaving a charitable bequest to clients who are having their Wills drafted.

It also revealed that almost one-quarter (24%) of professionally-prepared Wills includes a gift to charity. This is a substantial increase of 16% since 2016, with steady growth each year to the date of the survey in 2022.

More than one-third (36%) of those questioned stated that they always raise the question of leaving a gift to charity while less than one-tenth (9%) say that they never do this. The most common reason for never raising the issue is that the lawyer does not want to influence the client’s decision.

The importance of charitable gifts in Wills

The charitable sector relies heavily on bequests, which are the single largest source of voluntary income for UK charities. Around £3.85 billion is received each year by charities from gifts left in Wills, allowing them to continue the work that they do.

Lucinda Frostick, director at Remember A Charity said: “Once clients have taken care of their family and loved ones in their Will, the option to leave a charitable gift and lasting legacy to positively impact the world after they are gone can be hugely empowering and inspiring.

“This benchmarking study charts a continual rise in the proportion of Wills made through solicitors and Will-writers that include a charitable gift. These donations may not arrive for some years yet, but they will fund vital services and charities’ core costs for generations to follow.”

Why Will writers and solicitors believe some clients do not leave a gift to charity

When asked why they feel there is a barrier to giving a charitable legacy in some cases, those questioned said that individuals might want to leave their whole estate to their family (83%), they find it difficult to choose a charity to support (38%) or that they feel it may cause a dispute (38%).

Estate administration

Over three-quarters of the firms questioned for the survey (77%) had acted or assisted in estate administration that included a charitable gift. More than half (56%) said that they found the charities easy to deal with. Only 13% said that charities had not been easy to deal with. The top reason given for this by 22% was that they communicated too frequently.

Leaving a charitable gift in your Will

If you ask a Wills solicitor to draft your Will, they will be able to ensure that your charitable gift is correctly set out, including details such as the charity number and what you would like to happen in the event that your chosen charity has ceased to exist.

A gift left to charity will be exempt from Inheritance Tax. If you leave 10% or more of your net estate to charity, the rate of Inheritance Tax paid by your estate will be reduced from 40% to 36%.

You can choose a charity which aligns with your beliefs or carries out work that you strongly believe in. Alternatively, there may be a charity which has helped your or your family during your lifetime and that you would like to remember in your Will.

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