Leaving your favourite charity a gift in your Will

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Jennifer Robinson

Solicitor in Wills and Probate

Do you want to leave a gift to a charity in your Will?

According to the latest research from the legacy information company Smee & Ford, more people are doing this – in fact in 2021, 37,242 Wills included donations to one or more charities in England and Wales.

Jennifer Robinson, solicitor in the private client team at Wake Smith, looks at the benefits of legacy giving.

The article covers:

  • What is legacy giving?
  • The latest research on donations
  • Why leave a gift in your Will to charity?
  • Help Sheffield Museums
  • Your next move?

What is legacy giving?

Legacy giving is a donation made by an individual through a Will.

The terms of almost all legacy gifts, even very complicated ones, are laid out in a Will by a solicitor and reflect the values and desires of the donor.

The latest research on donations

Research has found that the number of Wills which included a gift to charity increased by nearly 11 per cent in 2021. Some 37,242 Wills included donations to one or more charities in England and Wales; this is up from 33,650 in 2020 and is the highest in five years.

The report says 10,670 different charities were mentioned in Wills in 2021, which Smee & Ford said was the highest it had recorded over the past decade.

More than one-third of these Wills contained a single charity, while about a fifth named two. One made bequests to 61 separate charities.

The figures are taken from Smee & Ford’s database of charities and the bequests they receive, which is populated by information collected by its researchers, who examine more than 5,000 wills a week.

About one in six – 16 per cent – of all Wills left a gift to charity.

Total legacy giving fell from £3.4bn in 2020 to £3.2bn last year, the report says, although this was not due to lower donations but because of “changes to probate caused a slow-down in processing and a backlog of estates, which was then exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Why leave a gift in your Will to charity?

Legacy giving provides a variety of benefits to all involved. It provides you with an opportunity to leave a larger donation to your desired good cause; offers the chance for the charity to benefit from the sale of named valued possessions and reduces your estate taxes.

By donating to a charity, you reduce a potential Inheritance Tax liability on your estate.

Any gifts made under your Will or during your lifetime to UK registered Charities are exempt from Inheritance Tax.

If you leave at least 10% of your ‘net’ estate to a UK registered charity, the Inheritance Tax rate on the rest of your estate is reduced from 40% to 36%.

Help Sheffield Museums

Wake Smith Solicitors and Sheffield Museums launched a new legacy giving partnership in early 2018 to help ensure that great art and heritage can continue to inspire future generations in the city.

We became the museum’s first ever legacies partner and are working with Sheffield Museums to encourage the city’s rich history of giving and philanthropy to continue.

The legacy giving programme offers the chance for individuals to remember Sheffield Museums by leaving a gift in their Wills which supports the museums and galleries’ work today, and in the future.

A gift in your Will is simple to organise through Wake Smith Solicitors, its exempt from inheritance tax, and is a special way of making a vital, long term difference to your local museums and galleries.

For further information ask one of our Private Client team.

Your next move?

To book an appointment regarding estate planning please contact Jennifer Robinson in the Private Client team at Wake Smith Solicitors on 0114 224 2084.

Find out more about Wills and estate planning services

Published 27/06/23


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Solicitor in Wills and Probate

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