Survey shows less people are leaving to charity in their will

The results of a survey carried out by the Law Society, published recently, show that few people leave a gift to charity in their Will despite high overall levels of charitable giving in the UK.

The survey, which took place in late June 2020, just after the first lockdown restrictions began to ease, showed that-


  • 59% of those surveyed said they did not have a Will.
  • Just 29% said they have an up-to-date Will which reflects their current intentions.
  • Of those who had made a Will, just 20% had included a charity as a beneficiary in their Will.

Our private client solicitor, Nicola Steadman commented “ ‘Would you like to leave a gift to charity’ is a question I ask every single time I prepare a Will for a client. Most consider it, but I have found that the number of people leaving gifts has reduced over the last few years.

As gifts to charity are exempt from Inheritance Tax, giving money to charity can be a way of reducing your Inheritance Tax bill. Legacies are exempt from IHT and if you leave 10% of your estate to charity, you can also benefit from a reduced rate of IHT. Instead of it being 40%, the rate is 36%.”

Thomson Hayton Winkley have recently taken part in St John’s Hospice Wills fortnight and although final totals have not yet been added up, it is expected that a few thousand pounds will have been raised.

As part of that Scheme, we encourage people to think about leaving gifts to charity in their Will. So after family and friends have been looked after, why not consider leaving some funds to charity?

And, of course, if you do not leave a will at all, you do not have any say in how your estate is distributed, which could lead to problems or cost for your beneficiaries.

Nicola is a member of The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the Private Client Section of The Law Society and a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly. She is happy to advise on all aspects of wills and estate planning.

For more information about the Law Society’s survey see https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/contact-or-visit-us/press-office/press-releases/wills-overlooked-as-a-way-of-giving-to-charity

Published 2 March 2021

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