Leaving gifts to charity in your will

The International Day of Charity takes place annually in September, but did you know that one of the best ways to support a charity is to leave them a gift in your will? Many charities in the UK rely on donations left behind by their supporters, and any gift you leave could make a vital difference to the work of the organisation. There are many benefits to leaving money to a charity for your estate too, including tax relief. In this article, I will look at some of the most common questions people have about leaving money to charity in their will.

How can I leave money to charity in my will?

Generally speaking, there are two ways to leave money to charity in your will.

The first option is to very simply, specify any charities you wish to benefit from your will. Alternatively, you can leave money or property in a trust and leave it up to your trustees to decide.

Where you choose to name a specific charity, it is always best to include the charity number. Many charities have quite similar names, or the name of the charity may change, and you want to be sure your gift goes where it was intended.

If you choose to let the trustees decide where your money goes, you may wish to leave instructions to help guide them.

What can I leave to charity in my will?

You have several options for what to leave a charity in your will, and you may wish to consider what might benefit them the most. Your gift may be:

  • A cash amount
  • A specific property or asset
  • Your residuary estate or a share in your residuary estate (your residuary estate is what is left after other specified gifts, costs and tax).

Is it possible for family members to object to a gift left to charity in my will?

Under the Inheritance Act, you must make reasonable provision in your will for any dependants that you have. If your will fails to provide, a family member can contest any charitable gift in order to obtain the financial provision they are entitled to under the law.

Alternatively, it is possible for a family member to contest the will on the grounds that you were under undue influence or not of sound mind when you made the gift.

Do I need to pay tax on charitable gifts in my will?

Any gift left to a UK charity is free of inheritance tax liability. However, if you wish to make a gift to a charity outside the UK, the situation is more complex. Not only are charitable gifts tax-free but leaving gifts to charity in your will could mitigate your tax liability overall. When you leave at least 10% of your estate to charity, the inheritance tax liability of the rest of your estate falls to 36%.

To discuss this, or any other related matter with Jordan directly, please call 01483 887766, email info@hartbrown.co.uk or start a live chat today.

*This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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Jordan Page

Senior Solicitor, Trusts & Estates

Jordan is a Solicitor specialising in Wills, lasting powers of attorney and the administration of trusts and estates. He is based in the Trusts &...

Senior Solicitor, Trusts & Estates

Jordan Page

Jordan is a Solicitor specialising in Wills, lasting powers of attorney and the administration of trusts and estates. He is based in the Trusts & Estates department in Guildford.

Jordan studied law at the University of Southampton, graduating in 2013. Whilst completing his LPC on a part time basis, Jordan worked in the firm’s quality and compliance department as the firm’s Chief Internal Auditor, before commencing his training contract in April 2016.

Having previously undertaken trainee roles in the Family and Residential Property departments, Jordan qualified into the Trust & Estates department where he completed his training.

What does Jordan regard as his specialism?

"The administration of estates and inheritance tax planning in equal measure. My experience of administering estates and calculating inheritance tax liabilities has provided me with valuable insight into how this particularly unpopular tax applies. This type of work has given me the tools to advise clients as to the steps they can take in advance to mitigate their exposure to inheritance tax. I pride myself on providing legal advice in a straightforward manner, cutting through the legal jargon. I always endeavour to work as efficiently as I can in order to provide the best level of service."

Jordan frequently receives great feedback from his clients:

"Just thought I’d email to say thank you really - it’s been a long 11 months but some of the horror stories I have heard from friends who have had to deal with these affairs makes us all realise how efficient and effective you have been so I'd like to thank you on behalf of all our family."

"“Thank you above all for all your exemplary and conscientious work on my mother’s estate, carried out with great patience and attention to every detail.”

“Thanks again for all your hard and conscientious work on the estate and then the will. You have made what could have been a stressful process extremely easy and constructive. I really appreciate the time you have devoted to helping me navigate this.”

"Hart Brown comes up trumps yet again"

“I appreciate your efforts and thank you for helping me to understand the process!”

"Thank you for your help, your ears will be burning, as I have been ringing your praises!!"

“Thank you for all your input, help and time - it has been much appreciated.”

“May I take this opportunity to thank you for your hard work and professionalism - it is a testament to all those who worked so hard on this case that it looks as though it will all be settled by the first year Anniversary. Quite remarkable!”

"I would like to place on record my appreciation of the efficient and quick service you have provided, particularly as I wished to have the new will in place before my departure on holiday."