Many people give to charities during their lifetime, but the extent of their generosity is limited by their means, and other spending priorities. On the basis of the truism that "we are all worth more dead than alive", a Will may offer the opportunity to be more generous.
It is also an appropriate time to show a final appreciation for any help and support that you, or a loved-one, may have received from a particular charity. It was there to help through the generosity of others, it will be available to those who follow through your benevolence.
Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity comments: “When planning your inheritance, please consider the charity you’d like to benefit after taking care of loved ones. Everyone can leave the world a better place by leaving a gift to charity in their Will.”
When choosing a charity that you wish to benefit in your Will, it is important to ensure that you properly identify the exact charity that you have chosen. Otherwise your gift could bring about rancour, argument or even legal proceedings.
This is best done by quoting the Charity Registration number allocated to the individual organisation by the Charities Commission. You should also consider, and make clear, whether you intend the bequest for the national body, or a local or regional branch, where that kind of structure exists. Although charities would generally prefer that you didn't, you can specify the purposes for which your bequest is to be used. In addition it is prudent to provide for circumstances in which a charity may have closed, or merged with another, after the writing of your Will.
Where an estate is liable to Inheritance tax, there is an additional benefit in that charitable bequests are tax exempt.
For example an estate of £350,000, with the Inheritance Tax "Nil Rate Band" of £325,000 (2010/2011) left conventionally would pay Inheritance Tax of £10,000. The beneficiaries receiving the £340,000 balance.
If £325,000 were left to family etc and £25,000 given to charity, the tax bill would be "nil".
The family would lose £15,000, the tax man would lose £10,000 and charity would benefit by £25,000. Many will find the charity of their choice preferable to the "compulsory charity" - the Exchequer !