What is a Will?
Making a Will can be an emotional and daunting task but it is an important step in safeguarding the future of your loved ones. A well-crafted Will can provide protection and is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure that your wishes are carried out after you are gone. Without a Will, you lose control over how your assets are handled and distributed.
There are various sections to a Will. Some are mandatory and must be included, such as your Executors and your beneficiaries. Some are optional and can be included at your discretion depending on your wishes, such as specific legacies.
What is a legacy?
A legacy is simply a gift. Examples include a specific legacy, a specific item; a pecuniary legacy, a gift of money; a property legacy, a gift of property and a residuary legacy, giving the rest of the estate.
Leaving a gift in your Will is a very personal decision. The only gift you must make is the residuary legacy, the gift of your estate to your chosen beneficiary. Other types of gifts can be tailored to you. It is important any items specifically gifted in your Will can be clearly identified by your Executor.
Leaving a charitable gift in your Will
If you have a charity close to your heart, such as IWCT, you could leave them a charitable gift in your Will. It is most common to leave a gift of money as donations in Wills have a huge impact on charities both large and small.
To leave a legacy to a charity you need 3 pieces of information:
- The charity name
- The charity number
- The charity’s registered address.
You can easily find this information on the charity’s website or on the Charity Commission search. The legal phrasing is very similar to any other gift of money but it is important to make it clear that the organisation is charitable.
Change in circumstances
If you change your mind about making the gift, you can change your Will at any time. You should consider updating your Will every 5 years or when there is a material change to your circumstances. This could be marriage, children, change of assets or the death of a beneficiary for example.
You can also leave a percentage of your estate to charity, instead of leaving a specific amount of money. If you leave more than 10% of your estate to charity, it can reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax you pay. Depending on how much you are intending to gift to charity, this could impact your decision on where to place the gift in your Will.
Everyone can benefit from your Will
It is important to consider your charitable gifts alongside any gifts you may be making to loved ones. It is helpful to remember that you can have various beneficiaries in your Will, it is not a choice between the charities and your loved ones.
If you do not have a Will, your estate will follow the ‘rules of intestacy’, a set path chosen by the government to determine who will inherit your assets. You cannot leave it to your family to decide, they will have no control and will not be able to make specific gifts of money, even if you have asked them to. A Will is the easiest and most steadfast way to ensure your wishes are carried out when you are no longer here.
You should not feel under any pressure to make certain gifts in your Will, it is one of the most personal documents you will make. If you choose to leave a legacy to IWCT, we have more information here or you can contact us directly. Your solicitor will support you in the making of your Will.
IWCT would like to thank Emma Baker from Dynasty Wills & Estate Planning for explaining how to leave a gift in your Will. Legacies from generous supporters really help secure the future of charities like ours and as Emma says, your other beneficiaries won’t be compromised just because you’d like to leave a charitable gift.
If you are considering leaving a gift to IWCT, thank you.