Legacies to charities under donors’ Wills
There are a number of ways in which a charity can fundraise. As part of their fundraising activities, charities often promote the giving of legacies by the public and/or their existing donors/supporters. Donors can include in their Will a monetary gift to the charity which not only supports the charity but also saves tax on the donor’s Estate.
Fundraisers at charities often find that it assists in generating gifts being left to their charity under Wills if the charity suggests wording to their donors/supporters which can be included in their Wills to create a legacy to the charity.
Wills - Legacies to charities (Wills)
Use of either of the two sets of wording included in the Legacies to charities (Wills) document in this Sub-folder will be effective to create a monetary legacy to a charity in a Will. These are the two most common types of gift to a charity made by means of a Will. Charities might therefore wish to suggest that the donor uses one of these sets of wording.
However, a donor might find that neither of these forms of words express what he wishes to do, in which case he will need to take legal advice as to what, if anything, he should include in his Will. In any event a donor should always take legal advice before including in his Will either the wording in this Legacies to charities (Wills) document in this Sub-folder or any other wording.
Some introductory wording is also included in this Legacies to charities (Wills) document - charities can adopt or alter it and include it on their website (under a “Donate” page) and in literature about Wills. The forms of words to be included in Wills could also be included in the charity’s website and literature about Wills.
Codicils - Legacies to charities (Codicils to Wills)
If a donor/supporter has already made a Will which does not include any gift to the charity, but he subsequently decides to add a gift to the charity (e.g. a specific sum of money or particular property), he can do so by executing a Codicil to the Will rather than making a new Will or changing his existing Will. (A Codicil will have the effect of supplementing an existing Will.) The Legacies to charities (Codicils to Wills) document in this Sub-folder will be effective to create a Codicil to a Will.
If the change to a donor’s Will is to be more than just the addition of a gift to the charity, he should instead consider making a new will. In any event, a potential donor to a charity should always take legal advice before deciding either to use a Codicil or to revise or replace his existing Will or using this or any other wording in a Codicil. Donors should also seek legal advice on completion of this form of Codicil wording and the execution of it by the donor and the two witnesses.
Guidance Note on Legacy Wording
This outlines some important issues about cash legacies in wills left to charities. We recommend that charity trustees read it if they are considering fundraising for their charity through legacies. Charity supporters will also find it helpful to read it before taking any steps to leave a legacy to a charity in their will.