10 September 2019 | Comment | Article by Oliver Black
People leave legacies to charity for many reasons. Some have a deep lifelong affiliation to a particular charity, others may leave a legacy as a “thank you” to a charity for help they, or a loved one, may have received in the past and others still use it as a form of tax planning. But when considering why to leave a legacy to charity now, the same logic should be applied as to when considering whether or not to make or change your will now.
The answer, of course, is that no one knows what’s round the corner. In England and Wales, if you die without a will then your estate passes under inflexible rules known as the intestacy rules, which make absolutely no provision for legacies to charity and, if you die with no relatives, your estate ultimately passes to the Crown.
If you have an out of date, but valid, will, your executors are legally bound to pay your estate out in accordance with that will even if your wishes had changed since then.
Depending on the changes necessary, it can be relatively inexpensive to change your will, particularly when compared to the potential tax saving which charitable giving can bring or to the possible cost should a will dispute arise because your last will doesn’t reflect your final wishes. A will can be changed either by writing a new one or by signing what is known as a “codicil” which is a document which amends and is read alongside your will. How much it costs to change your will depends on a number of factors and your particular requirements.
You should also not be concerned if a charity changes its name or merges with another charity. Generally, the legacy to the original charity will still be valid. If a charity no longer exists, your executors may also be at liberty to choose another similar charity to gift the legacy to.
We offer a number of different services which can be tailor made to suit your particular needs and can provide an instant quote over the phone should you wish to write a will or create a codicil. For more information visit our wills service page.
Remember a charity week | 9 to 15 September 2019
Remember A Charity Week is an opportunity for charities and supporters to come together and raise awareness about leaving gifts in wills to charities, after taking care of family and loved ones. Hugh James is proud to support the week which this year focuses on debunking some common myths around legacy giving. As part of that we are publishing a series of blogs demystifying common myths around charity legacy giving. Follow @HughJamesLegal on Twitter to keep up to date with all our blogs.
For this year’s theme, Remember a Charity are using nostalgia and humour to address some common misconceptions associated with legacy giving to show that it’s something everyone can do. They have created a series of comedy films inspired by a classic TV show from the 1970s, which are available to watch on their YouTube channel here.