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Wills can be a tax efficient way to donate to your favourite charity

Britain has an enviable record of supporting good causes, yet many people are still unaware that they can use their wills to give to their favourite charities and gain some tax benefits at the same time.

A survey carried out by the Law Society just after the first lockdown restrictions began to ease showed that well over half (59%) of those surveyed said they did not have a will. Just 29% said they have an up-to-date will which reflects their current intentions.

Of those who had made a will, just 20% had included a charity as a beneficiary.

Law Society former president David Greene added: “Our research indicates that people’s charitable habits during their lifetime don’t always translate into their will.

“Many may also be unaware that any donations given to charities in wills are tax-free.

“For those with larger estates, leaving 10% or more of their estate to charity, can also have tax benefits. An expert solicitor will be able to advise on how people can best donate to charity in their will and if these tax benefits apply.

“More broadly, the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of the UK public do not have an up-to-date will.

“Many people are unaware of the chaos they can leave behind if they do not make a will or regularly update one to reflect their current wishes.

“If someone dies without making a will – also known as dying intestate – the law determines how much of their estate their spouse, children and other relatives will inherit. Under intestacy laws, unmarried partners, charities and close friends cannot inherit, meaning loved ones could be left with nothing.

“Writing a legally valid will with an expert solicitor, ensures people’s estates are inherited exactly as they would choose and can prevent a whole raft of problems landing on loved ones when they are grieving.”

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills and probate.