Leaving gifts to charity in your Will

20 May 2014

Gifts in Wills are incredibly important to UK charities, currently amounting to 13% of all charitable donations (approximately £2 billon per year).  It is for this reason that the charity sector is becoming more and more competitive with ever more charities seeking donations to their causes.

Leaving a gift to charity in your Will can not only help that organisation to carry on doing their good work, but it also has the benefit of reducing the size of your estate that would otherwise be liable to inheritance tax (IHT).  Any charitable gifts made in the seven years before death will also qualify for exemption.

You can choose to leave either a fixed sum or part or all of your estate once any other gifts have been made.  Whatever size your gift may be, it will give you satisfaction in the knowledge that your support will help the charity to continue its valuable work, and you can be sure that your help will be much appreciated.

New legislation has been introduced which it is hoped will encourage more people to leave money to charity in their Wills.  The current law states that IHT is chargeable on an individual's assets and estate where the net value is more than the "nil rate band" (currently £325,000).  The new scheme allows for a reduction in the IHT rate from 40% to 36% where 10% or more of a deceased person's estate (after the deduction of any debts, liabilities, exemptions, reliefs and the nil rate band) is left to charity.  These new rules apply to the estates of those who die on or after 6 April 2012.

In order that a gift is exempt from inheritance tax, the charity must be a qualifying charity established in the European Union or some other countries, and recognised by HM Revenue & Customs as such.

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