Leaving a legacy: Giving to charity

leaving a legacy.jpg
While it’s never a comfortable subject discussing what will happen when one dies, it is necessary, and one which shouldn’t be ignored. While family, friends and loved ones are often the people who receive assets after death, there is another sector which could benefit: charity.
Have you ever thought about leaving money to a charitable cause in your Will?

While it’s never a comfortable subject discussing what will happen when one dies, it is necessary, and one which shouldn’t be ignored. While family, friends and loved ones are often the people who receive assets after death, there is another sector which could benefit: charity.

Leaving money to charity when one dies isn’t just the preserve of the rich and famous, currently only 6% of the UK population do. Campaigning for change on this is an organisation called Remember A Charity who attempt to encourage people to leave a charitable gift in their Will. Donations from people after they’ve gone are vital for most charities, more so than you might think, and form the backbone of many’s income. In essence legacy donations are really important to these organisations - so why don’t more of us consider it?

Remember A Charity state that legacy income, or money which is left to charity via people’s Wills, is currently worth £2bn. However, if the posthumous charitable giving sector were to increase by just 4% the organisation say up to £1bn extra could be raised for UK charities.

So why don’t more people do it? It’s not a case of people not caring or showing willing. Statistics collected between 2010/2011 state that 58% of adults donated to charitable causes in a typical month - the equivalent of 29.5 million people (source).

Perhaps it’s because Wills are a hurdle to arrange at the best of times. Forget donating to charity as well, the politics of creating a Will are tricky to navigate anyway. Giving to charity will require you to set up a new Will, but find the right solicitor or Will writer and you’re on the right road. You can also create a codicil in lieu of a Will - it is a document which amends an existing Will.

Also, who do you choose to give your money to? For many people there is a clear answer - a charity close to their heart, one which has been inherently involved in their family life or one which they have supported all their lives. For others, there are too many worthy causes to choose from. A starting point is identifying a cause - or a number of causes to which you think your money will really benefit. Ultimately you are doing this not for you but for those after you who will receive support, guidance or physical articles as a result of the money they receive from you.

Some questions you might want to ask yourself before choosing a charity:

- Are the organisation oriented around a single or multiple cause?
- How would the money I am donating be spent?
- Are they going to use it wisely?
- How much do I want to, or am I able to give and what impact will this have on the chosen organisation and people it supports?

So how much do you give?

While you hear many philanthropists donating the whole of their life savings - for most people that is not going to be the case. Millionaire entrepreneur, John Roberts, was publicised in the press in March this year after he said he would give all of his assets when he died to charity, rather than his children. He is worth £500 million. Whatever his reasons, working out how much you want to leave to charity in your Will is easier than you might think. Again, refer to Remember A Charity who have created a calculator which can act as a guide as to how much to donate.

The main thing to remember is that while the gift of money might not get your name on the new wing of a contemporary art gallery, it is true to say that the cash that you’ve saved and worked hard for all your life, can make a difference to whoever you choose when you’re no longer here. It's something to think about.

 

1510