By James Antoniou, Head of Wills, Co-op Legal Services

We work with a number of large and small charities to offer affordable will writing services for their supporters year-round.

People leaving gifts in wills generates over £2.8billion for good causes every year, which makes a massive difference. Just imagine how much more could be done if everyone remembered their favourite charity this way!

Gifts can be small or large and don’t have to be financial. Here are five things to remember if you’re thinking about leaving a gift to charity in your will:

1. There are no set rules for choosing a charity

We find that a person usually leaves a gift to a charity because they’ve been touched by the support they’ve given to them or a loved one. But there are no rules to say that you can only leave a gift to a charity you have a personal connection with. The decision is yours, and yours alone, whatever your motivation may be.

2. Charitable legacies are generally exempt from Inheritance Tax

Most gifts left to charities in wills will be exempt from Inheritance Tax. This is because charities fall into the ‘exempt beneficiaries’ category. However, this only applies to registered charities, so it’s important to make sure your chosen charity qualifies. You can find this out by asking for their tax exempt reference number.

3. You can leave anything you own to charity

There are no restrictions on what you can or can’t leave to a charity in your will. You can choose to leave any possession or asset you own, including property, land, shares, an item of jewellery or even a piece of art. If you’d like the charity to use your gift for a particular purpose, then you should have a chat with them first to make sure they can. You’re unlikely to be able to gift assets that are jointly owned with another person, so it’s always a good idea to get some advice from a will writing specialist.

4. There’s no limit on how many charities you can leave a gift to in your will

It’s important to think about which items or the amount of money you’d like to give to each charity. Once you’ve decided, it can be accurately recorded in the terms of your will.

5. Visit the Charity Commission’s website for a list of charities

What if you know you want to leave a gift to charity in your will, but you’re not sure exactly which charity (or charities) to choose? You can visit the Charity Commission’s website to see a full list of all the registered charities in England and Wales to give you an idea of the ones out there and the work they do.

Help us spread the word about Remember a Charity Week, and share if you’re leaving a gift to charity on social using #RememberACharity.

In support of Remember a Charity Week, colleague members can get up to 20% off** our will writing services with prices starting from only £99 + VAT (£118.80) for a standard single will, or £169 + VAT (£202.80) for standard mirror wills, just remember to quote MEMRAC2019. And as a Co-op member, you also get 5% back and 1% for your community^.

If you’re interested in making a will, you can do it with Co-op Legal Services online, or over the phone by calling 0330 606 9513.

** Price includes 20% discount for a standard Single Will. Price £118.80 including VAT. Full price Single Will is £125 (£150 including VAT). Offer ends on 21 October 2019. Suitable for members living permanently in England & Wales only. ^Terms and conditions apply