This blog post was updated on 6 September 2022 as part of our ‘Remember a Charity Week 2022’ campaign.
‘I am unsure about leaving a legacy to charity as my circumstances may change before my death, and I don’t want to have to make a new will in future.’
There are many reasons why people choose to leave gifts to charities in their will. Often a charity will be close to someone’s heart because the charity has helped them, a family member or a friend in the past, or the charity is seeking to improve awareness of or progress a cause they support. Gifts to charity can also be an effective means of tax planning.
Making a decision about who to benefit on your death takes a lot of thought, with several factors to take into consideration. As people’s life circumstances evolve over time, so their choice of who to include in their will may also change. Your will should be reviewed every so often to make sure it still reflects your wishes, and you can change your will as and when you want to.
Small changes to a will, for example to add or remove a legacy, can be made using a codicil which is a document that is supplemental to your will. Alternatively, if the changes are more extensive or you would wish to have a new will prepared then that new will would revoke the earlier will. The cost of amending your will can be quite inexpensive, and the process may be more straightforward than you anticipate.
Leaving a gift to a charity in your will now does not mean that you will not be able to make changes to the legacy, relatively easily, in future.
You may worry that a charity you want to benefit might change its name, merge with another charity, or have to close. In the event of a name change or joining with another charity, the gift in your will would still be valid. If your chosen charity was not in existence at the time of your death then your executors may be able to pay the gift to a charity with similar objectives so that the purpose of the gift you left would still be met.