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Brits “unaware” of benefits of charitable legacies, study reveals

A significant number of people are unaware of the benefits of giving to charity in their Will, a major study has revealed.

The research, published by the Law Society for England and Wales, suggests that few are taking advantage of the tax advantages of legacy giving.

According to the paper, a very small number of Brits leave a gift to charity in their Will despite giving generously throughout their life.

While 57 per cent of people have given to charity “in the last year”, the Law Society survey found that less than three in five (59 per cent) have a Will, and of those that do, just one in five (20 per cent) have included a charity as a beneficiary.

Just 29 per cent of participants, meanwhile, said they have a Will that “reflects their current intentions”.

The Law Society also notes that a large number of participants were unaware of the tax benefits of leaving gifts to charity in a Will.

Under current legislation, donations given to charities in Wills are tax-free and won’t count towards the total taxable value of the estate.

Any donation worth 10 per cent or more of the “net estate” – the portion of the estate you will pay tax on after taking the inheritance tax threshold into account – will also cut the rate of inheritance tax you will pay from 40 to 36 per cent.

Commenting on the findings, Law Society of England and Wales president David Greene said: “Charitable giving is generally high in the UK. However, many people may be unaware that their will is another way to give to causes close to their heart.

“Our research indicates that people’s charitable habits during their lifetime don’t always translate into their will. Many may also be unaware that any donations given to charities in wills are tax-free.”

Mr Greene also highlights the dangers of dying without a valid or up to date Will and the serious financial implications it can have on families.

“Writing a legally valid will with an expert solicitor, ensures people’s estates are inherited exactly as they would choose and can prevent a whole raft of problems landing on loved ones when they are grieving,” he said.

For help and advice crafting a watertight Will, please get in touch with our expert later life planning team today.

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