Advice Admin & Legal Leaving a gift in your will

Leaving a gift in your will

We don’t think twice about popping some change in a charity box, doing a fun run or donating to causes we care about. But lots of us don’t know that there is another important way we can donate to charity - by leaving a gift in your will.

In 2020 £3 billion was given to charities through gifts in wills. This is set to reach £5 billion by 2030. Each year more people are deciding to leave a legacy or gift in their will. This helps future generations after they're gone. So if you’re considering leaving a gift in your will to your favourite charities, we’ve laid out everything you’ll need to know below.

What is a gift in will?

A gift in will, refers to any money, items or property left to someone in a will. It is also known as a bequest or a legacy. This includes friends, family, but is most commonly used to describe gifts left to charities or causes.

When you come to writing your will, one of the most important things to consider is who you’d like to benefit from your estate. Your loved ones, family and friends will naturally come first, but you can also think about which causes and charities you’d like to give money to in your will.

Gifts can come in all shapes and sizes, and leaving just a small amount to charity can make such a difference.

What are the different types of gifts you can leave in a will?

There are three main types of gifts you can include in your will to charity:

1. Gifts of Residue: A share of your estate, also known as a residuary gift

You can split up your estate by percentages, and therefore leave a certain percentage (e.g 10%) to a charity.

2. Pecuniary Legacy: A set amount of money, also known as a pecuniary gift

You can also leave a cash gift for example £1,000 to a charity. These gifts come out of your estate first, and then what’s left over is divided according to your wishes.

3. Specific Gift: An item, also known as a specific gift

If you have a specific item that you want to go to a charity you can do this too, such as a car or jewellery, or a work of art. It’s always best to contact the charity first to ensure they can accept the item.

Why leave a legacy in a will?

There are so many positive reasons why you should consider leaving a gift in your will to charity. Check out the main ones below:

How can leaving money to charity in your will help them?

  • Legacies help to safeguard charities work for years to come.
  • These special gifts ensure charities can continue their services to benefit future generations.
  • Last year gifts in wills raised over £3 billion for UK charities, and many charities would simply cease to exist without them!

How can leaving a legacy to charity help you?

  • It feels good! You’ll know you’re making a difference to people’s lives by supporting a cause you’re passionate about.
  • A gift in your will costs you nothing.
  • It could also be a comfort to your family and friends to know your values and legacy lives on after you’re gone.

And that’s not all, it gives you some tax benefits that might actually save your loved ones money…

Is money bequeathed in a will taxable?

Money left to charity is not subject to Inheritance Tax, which means you could reduce the taxable value of your estate.

Not only that, if you leave 10% of your total estate to charity, your Inheritance Tax rate will be reduced from 40% to 36%, which could result in your loved ones receiving more.

Find out more about the tax benefits here.

How to leave a gift in your will?

It’s easier than you think to leave a gift to charity in your will.

Things to consider before leaving a gift in will

Before you start the process of adding a gift, we’d suggest you think about the below points and talk to your loved ones about it:

  • Which causes and charities do you care about the most
  • How many charities you’d like to give to
  • What types of gifts you’d like to give and how it may affect your Inheritance Tax

What information do you need to leave a legacy in a will

You just need three simple details to leave a legacy:

  • Charity name
  • Charity address
  • Charity registered number

How to leave a legacy in a will

You can write your will online and leave a gift to charity through our simple step-by-step process.

  • When you come to the section 'Divide your estate’ you’ll first be asked to add your loved ones details
  • You’ll then be able to add as many charities as you like. You can search for a particular charity or add the details manually.
  • Next, you’ll divide your estate and you can decide what percentage you’d like to give to each charity
  • If you’d prefer to leave a cash gift or an item to a charity, you’ll be able to do this under the section ‘Gifts

Start your will and include a gift to charity today.