Reasons to leave a legacy to charity

Only seven per cent of Britons leave a legacy gift to charity in their Will.

Approximately 67 per cent of people in this country gave money to charitable causes in 2015*, only seven per cent leave money to charity as a legacy in their Will. So here are reasons to leave money to charity:

  • Generosity and philanthropy: Giving financial support to organisations that help the less fortunate is an effective way of helping disadvantaged people improve their quality of life and life chances;
  • Tax reduction: leaving a legacy to charity can reduce your estate for inheritance tax purposes;
  • Previous giving: if you regularly donate money to a charity - and you are happy with how that charity is performing its charitable work - it makes sense to leave it money to assist it continue its work;
  • Gratitude: if a health care charity, such as Macmillan Nurses, or a local hospice, has helped or is helping you or a loved one, you can show your gratitude by leaving it money;
  • Defeating illness: if you have a chronic or terminal illness, donate to the appropriate research charity so that the illness can be defeated or lessened by research;
  • Family reasons: relatives and close friends can’t argue with each other or be jealous if you decide that charities are more deserving of your estate.

Most charities have information on legacy giving on their websites. However, you might want to leave money to a small local charity or one whose funds are so limited they cannot afford such fundraising activities. 

Explain to others

If you decide to leave money to charity, it might upset family members.

To avoid this, you should explain why you are leaving money to charity and why you have chosen a particular charity or charities.

You can instruct your executor to give copies of your explanation to the relevant family members.

Funeral donations

You can increase the money you give to charities by instructing people to donate to your chosen charity or good cause instead of buying funeral flowers.

You can also organise a memorial party and instruct your family or executor to use it as a fund raising event by having a ticket price and auctions. The money raised can go to your chosen charity.

Add this to your funeral wishes so that your executor knows how you want your death to benefit those at need.



Charity Aid Foundation - UK Giving Report 2015 

More in Financial & Legal

How can I protect my assets long-term when a writing a will?

It is impossible to predict what circumstances your surviving spouse or other relatives may find themselves in one, five or ten years down the line. It is vital that you identify that the estate you are leaving behind will find its way to the beneficiaries you wish to leave it to, come what may, writes estate planning specialist Paul Thompson.  


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