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Posted in Gifts in Wills & In Memory

How to get your charitable legacy right

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When deciding how to make your Will, you might think about leaving some money to charity. Giving money to a charity whose aims you believe in can be one of the most satisfying things you can do, but it is imperative to follow the correct process. Failing to do so can cause legal problems which may result in your money not reaching the places you wanted it to.

The first thing you should do is decide how much you would like to set aside for charity, and also decide which charity you would like to support (it can be more than one). You can search for a charity here. Giving to charity might also affect the inheritance tax your beneficiaries pay - usually, giving a little more to charity can reduce inheritance tax payments.

If you do leave instructions in your Will that the money should be left to charity, make sure to discuss your decision with your family. Discussing it with them prior to anything happening will mean there is less likelihood of any legal wrangling after you are gone. It is also advisable to inform the charity that you plan on leaving them money when you die.

There are two ways in which you can leave money to charity. A fixed sum, which is known as a pecuniary legacy; or a percentage of your estate (taken once the other gifts specified in a Will have been distributed), known as a residuary legacy. Leaving a set percentage can have the benefit of protecting other beneficiaries’ inheritances if your estate became reduced after your Will was made.

It is best to consult with an expert prior to setting out your Will – Saga can help you plan appropriately and can provide advice on these matters.

Perhaps one of the most important things to remember is to review and update your Will regularly. After writing it many things can change - from the size of your estate to your own personal circumstances - and this can affect the contents greatly.

By keeping this advice in mind you can be more confident that your legacy will be distributed as you wish. For more information, visit the Charity Choice Gifts in Wills page.


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