Leaving a gift to a charity in your Will should be relatively straightforward, even if you have already made a Will.
1. If you have an existing Will, you can update this to include a charitable gift either by preparing a new Will or a Codicil. A Codicil is a document used to make changes to an existing Will, which refers to and is read in conjunction with a Will.
A Codicil is only recommended for minor changes such as adding or removing a legacy or changing a choice of Executors, so if any additional changes need making to an existing Will it would be advisable to prepare a new Will.
2. When making a new Will (or adding a Codicil), you will need to provide details of the charity that you would like to benefit. These details should include the charity name, contact address and registered charity number, which can all be obtained from the Charity Commission.
This is to ensure that you are naming the correct charity. If there is a local branch of the charity, it is important that you consider whether you wish your gift to be used for the benefit of that local branch or nationally.
Sometimes, a local branch of a charity will have a separate registered charity number. Check out the full list of charities here https://register-of-charities.charitycommission.gov.uk/
3. Consider what you would want to happen in the event that your chosen charity had a change of name or changed its charitable objectives. You should also think about how you wish a particular charity to use the funds that you will be leaving them.
4. When leaving charitable gifts in your Will or Codicil there may also be tax benefits meaning that you will pay less Inheritance Tax. Any gifts to registered UK charities will qualify for an exemption for Inheritance Tax and if you are leaving more than 10% of your Residuary Estate to charity, your estate will benefit from a reduced rate of Inheritance Tax.
5. If you are considering leaving a charitable gift in your Will, always consult an experienced and suitably qualified Solicitor to ensure your wishes remain your wishes.
The Wills & Trusts team at Wilson Browne Solicitors are highly regarded professionals, recognised by the Legal 500 (a guide to “Who’s Who” in the legal world) who have written over 2,500 Wills this year alone and facilitated over £3.3 million worth of gifts from clients choosing to leave a legacy to Cancer Research UK.