Monday, 25 June 2012

Can I Leave Money to Charity in my Will?

Can I leave money to charity in my Will?
Article by
Sharon Brown
In one word, yes!  However, before you make any changes to your Will, or indeed set about making a new one it is important to seek advice to ensure that your intentions are recorded correctly else your wishes may not be met when you pass away.

Before proceeding, I recommend that you consider the following points:

What have I got to leave?
Many of us think we have very little to give, but if you add up the value of your home, your personal possessions, your savings and investments the total amount can soon add up. 

Who do I want to benefit from my Will?
Most of us have some loved ones we would want to inherit from our Will.  You don't have to give everyone money, you may instead choose to leave a specific possession to a close friend for example. 

Which charity or charities am I particularly fond of?
There may be a special charity or charities that mean a lot to you that you wish to include within your Will.  In order for them to benefit from your estate it is important that your Will refers to their exact name and registered charity number to avoid any confusion.

What should I leave them?
If you wish to leave them a set sum of money you should check whether your estate could afford to pay them.  For example, if you owned your home which was worth £250,000 and you had cash savings worth £20,000.  When you pass away, any bills or debts will need to be settled (including your funeral).  If your Will gifted £25,000 to a charity and everything else to your daughter, the house would need to be sold to raise funds to give the charity what was due to them.  This may not be what you wanted if you wished your daughter to receive the property.

Alternatively, you may decide to give them a share of the residue (the amount left over after any liabilities and legacies have been paid).  If so, the Will should be worded very carefully so as to make it clear what your intentions are.  If a beneficiary disagrees with the interpretation of your Will it is possible your estate could end up being dragged through unnecessary Court proceedings. 

You should always consider the practical implications of any wishes you set out in your Will.

If you still have questions or would like to discuss your own wishes and circumstances please call me on 01992 422128 or email me at sharon@gardenhousesolicitors.co.uk

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The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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