How to leave a charitable gift in your Will

by | Jul 21, 2022

For many of us, contributing to a charity of choice provides a meaningful and compassionate way to make a difference to a cause that is close to our heart. One way to do this is to make a bequest in our Will, for a portion of our estate assets to be given to one or more charities after we die.

The main types of gifts you can leave in your Will include:

  • Residuary bequests – whereby the remainder of your Estate goes to a charity after first leaving gifts to loved ones, and payment of any debts and funeral expenses have been honoured.
  • Pecuniary bequests – which clearly specify the donation, whether it be a sum of money, specific property, or stocks and/or shares etc.
  • Contingent bequests – which only take effect if certain conditions are met or an event occurs. For example, if one or more beneficiaries predecease you, then you can bequeath (all or part of) their share of your estate to your charity of choice.
  • Percentage or fractional bequests – which consider the changing value of your Estate which can occur due to factors such as inflation, property fluctuations and changes to the composition of your Estate over time.
  • Whole estate bequests – usually left by those without family or other preferred beneficiaries, or those wanting to achieve something significant with their gift.

If you wish to bequeath a gift to a charity, leaving instructions behind in a Will is the only way to ensure that your wishes are followed through with. This can be done either by creating a new Will if you don’t have one; revoking an existing Will and writing a new one; or adding a codicil to your existing Will.

A codicil is simply an additional section attached to your existing Will. Often this is all that is required if you are making minor changes. If you are making significant changes, you will likely need to write a new Will. To update your Will with a codicil you must:

  • Identify the exact section in your Will that you wish to update and clearly reference it with the new information you wish to include;
  • Use the same language in your codicil that is used in your Will;
  • Include a sentence that references your original Will by date;
  • After adding your new provisions, include a sentence indicating that the rest of the Will shall remain as it is; and
  • Ensure that the codicil is signed, dated, and kept in a safe place with the original Will.

A Scammell & Co Wills and Estates lawyer has the expertise to ensure your Will is a recognised legal document, and that your intentions are clear and will be carried out as you wish. Moreover, they can draft specific instructions on how your charitable gift is to be used if, for example, you wish to support one specific aspect of a charity’s work.

For further information about Wills and Estate Planning please follow the link here