It is never too soon to think about writing a will.  When you reach the part of your life journey where you start to own property or other assets, I would recommend seeking the advice of an expert, no matter what age you are or if you don’t yet have dependents.  In the event of an incapacitating accident, illness, or death, it is much easier and less stressful for your family if they know your wishes, especially if you do want to leave a charitable gift in your will.

Within your will, it is possible to leave three types of gifts:

  • Specific (particular items or a group of items)
  • Pecuniary (money)
  • Residuary (the ‘residue’ of your estate, i.e., what is left over).

A Specific gift is a nominated object, for example an artwork, a collection of records or an antique.  Specifying the item and who it is to go to is a good way of ensuring that someone close to you receives that gift when you die.

A Pecuniary gift is a transfer of money, or other gift that has liquid monetary value. It specifies a fixed amount and can be given to a specific person, a group of persons, or a combination of both.

A Residuary gift in a will is a way of leaving the remaining property of an estate to a named beneficiary. It is what is left after any specific or pecuniary gifts have been made from the estate and all expenses and taxes have been paid.

Gifts in wills can be allocated to whomever you choose, including a charity or community organisation, but there are some exceptions such as the age of the recipient, or whether the gift is yours to give.

You can choose to leave a gift in the form of a legacy to a charitable cause that is close to your heart.

Charitable gifts in wills

By leaving a gift, or legacy, in your will to a charity you are enabling them to continue with their important work, even once you are no longer here.  Your gift will mean a lot to them; many charities rely on the generosity of these gifts to continue to provide their services.

If you wish to do this, I recommend leaving a specific or pecuniary gift to your nominated charity.  This will mean that they will be gifted exactly what you want them to have.

Also, if your estate is subject to inheritance tax, anything you leave to a charity will be exempt from this.  This may help to alleviate the total amount of tax that will need to be paid on the estate. It is also possible to reduce the rate of inheritance tax payable by your total estate if you leave a specified amount to charity.

To discuss leaving a gift to The Norfolk Hospice please contact In Memory Fundraiser, Carol Mott, on 01485 601701 or email [email protected]

This article was written by Claire Melton from Stephenson Smart.

Stephenson Smart Chartered Accountants have offices throughout Norfolk and can offer expert advice in probate, trusts and estates. They are working with The Norfolk Hospice as their nominated Charity of the Year.

Image credit: Gary Pearson Photography