Legacies & in memoriam gifts

Many charities simply wouldn’t be able to continue their work without the gifts (often called legacies) left by supporters in their Wills.

Remembering Charity Link in your Will helps to ensure that we can continue to support the most vulnerable in our society in the months and years to come. It also has benefits for you. Without a Will the law decides how your estate is distributed after your death. Making a Will and leaving a gift to charity is very easy and may also have tax benefits.  More information can be found below. If you do decide to leave a legacy to Charity Link – whatever the size of your gift – you will be making a huge difference to the lives of local people living in poverty, hardship or crisis. We would be most grateful if you would let us know of your intention to give Charity Link a gift so that, on behalf of the 5,000 people we help each year, we can say thank you for your kind consideration.

In memoriam giving allows family and friends to celebrate the life of a loved one by donating to a cause close to their heart. If you are arranging a funeral or memorial service for a loved one and wish to ask relatives and friends to make a donation to Charity Link (often instead of buying flowers), most funeral directors are experienced in arranging this for you. People can also make one off gifts in memory of someone special by sending a donation to us (cheques should be addressed to Charity Link). Please do also forward your details, and the person in whose memory you are making a donation, so that we can acknowledge your kind gift. Alternatively you can set up an online giving page to ask for donations in memory of someone special. People can then make a donation online via a secure facility and gifts will come directly to Charity Link.  For example, visit www.justgiving.com and search for Leicester Charity Link. You can then either set up your own ‘fundraising’ page which gives you the opportunity to remember your loved one and ask for gifts in their memory, or simply ask people to give a donation via this website (please leave a message stating on whose behalf you are giving a gift). Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like further information on setting up an online giving facility.

More information on making a Will
It is important for all adults to have an up to date Will, particularly if they have dependents. This enables them to determine what will happen to their assets if they should die, along with giving instructions for funeral arrangements, appointing guardians of children and also who they wish to act as executor/s. If no Will has been made the law decides for them and this may therefore not reflect their real wishes. While there is a cost to making a Will, it could save a lot of money later on, as sorting out an estate where there is no Will can be complicated and expensive (along with causing distress to loved ones left to manage this process). Having a valid Will also enables some people to reduce the tax payable on their estate, as a solicitor will be able to give advice on the most tax effective approach for their circumstances.

Is your Will up to date?
Wills should be reviewed / updated as your circumstances change, such as marriages, divorces, the birth of children or grandchildren or the loss of a spouse. It is good practise to review your will every few years anyway to ensure it still meets your needs. Some small changes, such as adding a gift to a charity, can often be done by adding what is called a ‘codicil’. This is a low cost addition to an existing Will, rather than you requiring an entirely new Will. If more substantial changes need to be made to a Will, it may be easier to start from scratch. Your solicitor will be able to advise you on this. (While it is possible to make your own home-made Will, it is preferable to use a solicitor or a professional Will-writer to ensure that this important document is valid and achieves what you intend).

Making a Will gives people the opportunity to remember a charity and make a difference to a cause close to their heart. Wills can contain one or more gifts to charities, which are tax free. Giving a legacy often enables an individual to give a larger gift to a charity they support than they are able to in their life time.

They can be made in the form of:
Pecuniary gift – fixed sums of money (ideally liked to the retail price index to cover inflation).
Residuary gift (a gift of all, or a percentage of your estate after all debts have been paid and other gifts given). This is an effective way to divide the value of your estate between a number of people and causes (you do not need to update your Will to keep in pace with inflation – this gift is based on the value of your estate at the time).
Specific gift – this could be a house, or another item of value, such as jewellery.
Contingent gift – this is dependent on an event that may or may not happen. For example, you may give a gift to charity but can make a further gift of a proportion or all of your estate if beneficiaries in your Will die before you.

Leaving a gift in your Will can save you tax
Charities are usually exempt from inheritance tax and legacies can also reduce your tax liability by being deducted from the amount your estate is worth over the threshold before the tax is calculated. At present everyone has an inheritance tax allowance of £325,000, below which no tax is paid on the value of their estate at their death. Above that level (apart from gifts to spouses, civil partners and charities, which are all tax free), the value of the estate is taxed at 40%. For example, an estate worth £425,000 is £100,000 above the allowance and potentially liable to suffer £40,000 in tax. Since 2012 an additional measure has been introduced, whereby the rate of inheritance tax is reduced to 36%, if at least 10% of the net estate is left to charity. Inheritance tax thresholds can change year by year. With increasing property values more and more people may find themselves liable. A well prepared Will can significantly reduce the amount of tax on your estate. Your solicitor will be able to give you more detailed advice about inheritance tax and how to reduce your liability in your will.

For more information on finding a solicitor or professional Will-writer:
The Law Society – www.lawsociety.org.uk
The Institute of Professional Will-writers – www.ipw.org.uk