What would you like your legacy to be? Leaving money to charity in your will is a fantastic way to make the world a better place after you’re gone. And it has some nifty benefits for your inheritance tax bill, too. If you’re thinking of adding a charitable bequest in your will, here’s what you need to know.


Why consider leaving money to charity in your will?


You WILL make a difference

Big or small, your donation could be essential to helping your favourite charity continue their important work. Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot to give. Just £46 is enough to cover the cost of training a volunteer at Samaritans, for example.

At the moment, only 6% of people in the UK make a charitable bequest in their will. Recent figures have shown that if just one percent more gifted money in their will, an extra £97 million could be raised for vital causes each year. That’s a life-changing sum.


You’ll get money off your tax bill

Like money you leave to your spouse, gifts to charities aren’t taxed. And if you leave at least 10% of your estate to a charitable cause, your inheritance tax rate drops from 40% to 36%. This means that for every £100 you leave to charity, it only really costs your family £24.

If you’re clever about it, leaving a bequest to charity could save your family thousands – and a huge amount of stress.


Charities need your help to survive

Bequests to charities fund six in 10 lifeboat launches and two in three guide dogs. They account for 50% of the British Heart Foundation’s income. And on average, gifts in wills account for a hefty third of all charity income. Don’t hold back.


It’s easy

Really, really easy. On Beyond, you can make a will leaving money to your favourite charity in just 15 minutes. Along the way, you can also secure your legacy and protect the people (and pets) you care about. It’s a no-brainer.

Think you have to be wealthy to consider leaving money to charity in your will? Think again. Just 10% of the UK’s multimillionaires help out with charitable causes. Most of the money raised for charities in the UK comes from ordinary people. Every little helps!


How to leave a charitable bequest in your will

There are three different types of gift you can leave to charity in your will:

  • A possession (like an antique, or jewellery)
  • A set sum of money (e.g. £500)
  • A percentage of your estate (i.e. a portion of everything you own)

Once you’ve decided what you’ll give, it’s usually just a matter of knowing the charity’s name. But in cases where a few different charities have similar names, it can help to know the registered charity number as well. You can find this on the charity’s website, or search the register here.

On Beyond’s online will tool, leaving money to charity in your will takes just a moment. Simply search the charity name or number and pick it out from the drop-down menu. It’s that easy!

Start writing your will here.


What about leaving your whole estate to charity?

You can do this, yes. In the UK, we have something called ‘testamentary freedom’, which means you can leave your estate to whoever you like in your will.

However! Your will does also need to make ‘reasonable provision’ for anyone who relies on your financial support. So, if your will disinherits your partner, children or other family members, they may be able to go to court to get the money they’re entitled to.

They may also claim that you were forced to make the will or didn’t know what you were doing when you made it. To help prevent this, you can:

  • Tell family members what you are planning and why now, in writing
  • Keep a written explanation of what led to your decision with your will
  • Ask your GP to sign your will as a witness
  • Name a professional and/or an unbiased friend as your executor

Even so, your family can still make a claim. So, it’s generally best to just make some provision for them. You can find out more about the grounds for contesting a will here.


What are the best charities to leave your money to?

Most people leave money to help a cause they care strongly about. In 2018, the four most popular charities to leave money to in the UK were all animal charities. Health charities, conservation charities and the RNLI all made the top 10.

Have a think. What’s most important to you? Whatever it is, there’s sure to be a charity for it.

If there are a few to choose from, a little research can help. Charity Choice reports on what charities do with the money they’re given. You can also see the percentage of income used directly (instead of for more fundraising).  Meanwhile, Local Giving can help you find worthy causes in your community.

Many organisations we don’t think of as charities actually are run on donations from the public. You could leave a charitable bequest to a museum or a gallery, for example.


Leaving money to charity in your will is easy…

…So why not do it now? It takes just 15 minutes to make a legally binding will with Beyond. And it’s affordable: just £90 for a single will, or £135 to make one with a partner. Find out more here.

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