Providing you make reasonable provision for your financial dependants, you can leave money in your will to whomever you wish – including any charities.
In your will you can include specific charities to benefit or let your trustees decide. The legacy can be a specific sum or asset or a percentage value of your estate (after the payment of funeral expenses, debts, other specified gifts, or tax).
When naming specific charities in your will you should include their registered charity numbers because their names often change.
If you leave your trustees to choose the charities to benefit, you should provide them with clear guidance of your wishes to help them in making their decision.
Charitable giving and inheritance tax
Gifts made to UK charities are exempt from inheritance tax. It is more complex if you wish to make gifts to charities outside the UK.
If you leave 10% of your taxable estate to charity the inheritance tax rate is reduced to 36% for the rest of your estate. If you are thinking of including charitable gifts in your will it is worthwhile ensuring the reduced rate applies as it can mean your taxable beneficiaries receive more.
Specifying how funds are used
It is best to discuss your wishes with the charity concerned to ensure any conditions you specify can be met. Charities sometimes have to refuse a gift if they cannot comply with the conditions.
How should I decide which charities to donate to in my will?
Your solicitor will not advise you on who to donate to and will only take instructions from you, not from your chosen charity.
Pilgrims Hospices and Kent Community Foundation are two local organisations which you might like to consider if you do not have any specific charities in mind.
Kent Community Foundation (KCF) is one of 46 accredited local Community Foundations across the UK. Since 2001, KCF has distributed over £34 million in grants and provides financial support to hundreds of charities and deserving causes throughout Kent and Medway. To provide this support, KCF helps individuals, families and businesses, establish and administer their own charitable funds to support the local causes that mean the most to them and where a modest sum of money can make a significant impact.
For philanthropists who want to provide a lasting legacy for their local community and perhaps pass the heritage of giving on to the next generation of their own family, then endowed funds are extremely powerful. An endowed fund is invested to produce an annual income which is distributed as grants each year.
The Albert Burns Children’s Trust Fund was created in memory of Thanet businessman Albert Burns who left instructions in his Will for Boys & Maughan Solicitors to create a lasting legacy for children. We work with Kent Community Foundation who manage the grant-making on our behalf and direct funding to local childrens’ groups and charities. Since 2015, the fund has awarded over £100,000 to benefit local communities.
Find out more about how you can create a lasting legacy with Kent Community Foundation here: www.kentcf.org.uk/giving
Pilgrims Hospices has provided crucial, specialist end of life care to individuals and families throughout east Kent for more than 35 years.
Pilgrims Hospices cares for more than 2,400 local patients each year, free of charge, during the most challenging time in their lives. They offer care and support in people’s own homes, in the community, and in their inpatient units at Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet and through their 24-hour advice line.
The Hospices' goal is simple – to support and empower people with terminal illnesses to live well in mind and body, for as long as they need assistance. As a charity Pilgrims Hospices relies on the community to help it achieve this goal and over 73% of their costs are directly paid for by the support and kindness of local people.
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Paula Patton, private client solicitor at our Birchington office, explains how a charitable gift can help you achieve a double advantage, namely, a positive legacy for the future and your estate could benefit from the potential tax advantage of such gifts.