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Music mogul Simon Cowell has vowed he’s going to leave his £225million fortune to kids and dogs charities in his will.

But according to research from Legal Services, only 9% of the customers who write a will with us choose to include a gift to charity.

We want to change that. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Remember a Charity in your will week for the fifth year running – to spread the word about how important it is to not only make a will, but to help make leaving a gift to charity the social norm. And we’re offering our customers up to 20% off wills to encourage them to do just that.

James Antoniou, Head of Wills for Legal Services, says:

“We work with a number of large and smaller charities offering affordable will writing services to their supporters.  As such we understand that there is certainly a desire for clients to leave charitable gifts of all types in wills, for a variety of reasons and this is something that the charities heavily rely on. These gifts can be small or large and they don’t necessarily have to be financial.”  

Top 5 things people need to know when leaving a gift to charity in a will, according to James

What should you think about when choosing a charity? “There are no set rules to follow. Although we find that usually a person leaves a gift to charity because they have been touched by the support that the charity has given to them or to a relative.”

Are consumers taxed on the money they leave to charity?

“Generally speaking, a gift to charity in someone’s will is exempt from Inheritance Tax. But anyone considering leaving a gift to charity in a will needs to make sure that the charity is a qualifying charity. You can find this out by asking the charity for their tax exempt reference number.

“Unless a person chooses to leave their estate to an exempt beneficiary, the inheritance tax rate is 40 percent. This rate can be reduced to 36 percent if they leave 10 percent of the net estate to charity. However the rules to qualify for this reduction can be complicated so it’s important to get the right advice.”

Is it just money that can be left to charity or can other personal belongings be left instead?

“It’s also possible for someone to leave a specific item such as clothing or books for example. But people should think about their reasons for leaving these items to a charity. Is it so that they can be sold to raise funds? Either way, I’d recommend that your make your wishes clear in your will and, if you’re unsure whether the charity would like the items, contact them for a chat.”

How many charities can someone leave a gift to?

“There isn’t a limit but it’s important to think about which items or the amount of money they would like to give to each charity. When leaving money as a gift in a will there are two options: either as a fixed amount or as a proportion of the value of the estate after the person passes away.”

Is there a set list of charities people need to choose from?

“Anyone thinking about leaving a gift to charity in their will should visit the Charity Commission’s website for a full list of all charities registered in England and Wales. You should quote the charity’s registered charity number to make sure that the donation is left for the charity as intended to avoid any confusion at a later date.”

To help us spread the word about Remember a Charity week you can:

  • Share your thoughts on the world you’d like to pass on using #haveyoursay 
  • Tune into Last Pirate FM where legendary DJ Emperor Rosko will be inviting his audience to listen to some 60s tunes and have their say on the world they’d like to pass on

And if you’re interested in making an online will – do it with us now. It’s that easy.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Making it a ” social norm” sounds initially like a good idea. However with ever increasing poverty, austerity and costs. Pension problems, the rise in funeral costs. Is it realistic to believe this is achievable?
    I believe that promoting customers to give money to charity rather than their own loved ones by offering a discount is objectionable.

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