Charity Legacies and Tax

Leaving Charity Legacies in your will

Many Charities are dependent on Will legacies.  And we would like to encourage you after looking after family and friends, please give a thought to your favourite charity when thinking about your Will. 

You could make a real difference to future generations. And, from a selfish point of view many people are happier knowing that they are helping  making a difference!

Harries Watkins Jones is proud to be a Campaign supporter for Remember a Charity

RAC Charity LegaciesIn the UK, charitable giving has a long tradition, and people choose to support the causes that are important to them in a variety of ways. Although every donation counts, gifts in wills are currently the main source of voluntary income for organisations. With a 30% increase in persons making legacy gifts over the past 20 years, legacy giving is getting more and more popular.

Even so, there is frequently a dearth of knowledge about this type of charitable giving, leaving people unsure of how it operates and how to balance donations with gifts for family and friends. Because of this, we have agreed to the campaign charter of Remember A Charity, joining forces with this national network to educate everyone on the possibilities available to them when drafting a will.

One of the most satisfying ways to contribute, many people in the UK now include charity legacies in their wills every day, helping to support crucial services all around the nation.

People frequently have a strong emotional connection to the charities they support, making the concept of leaving a gift in their will intriguing. However, there is a widespread misperception that only wealthy people engage in this kind of philanthropy.  Actually, anyone can donate any amount, no matter how big or small, to any charity. Every little thing counts, and it can be so satisfying to make a difference. 

Allan Freeman, Chair of Remember A Charity – a consortium of 200 UK charities, adds: “Gifts in Wills have a phenomenal impact on charitable causes across the UK, whether that’s a case of funding medical research or shelters for those suffering from abuse, mental health helplines or keeping local the theatre open. Particularly in recent times, that income has never been more important, helping charities to sustain and even increase services to help those in need.” 

“It’s a great opportunity for people to have a lasting positive imprint, leaving the world a better place for future generations.” for inspirational stories about the impact of gifts in Wills.


Leaving a legacy and Inheritance tax

Charity legaciesIt is even more enticing because will charity legacies are eligible for significant tax advantages.

Gifts to registered charities in Wills are tax-free, effectively increasing the Inheritance Tax threshold on donors’ estates. And for people that choose to donate 10% of their net estate or more, this reduces the rate of Inheritance Tax down from 40% to 36%, which can amount to a considerable reduction on larger estates.

It is possible in certain circumstances that if the charity legacies are increased then the total amount available for distribution to family and friends can actually be increased.

It may not be even too late once the person has passed away. In some situations, the Will may varied, known as a deed of variation.

We recommend that you talk to a tax and probate professional as this area is often complex.


Lifetime gifts to charity and Income Tax

Of course, you haven’t got to wait until you pass away to make a donation to charity.  In fact, it may be more beneficial to make donations prior to you death than via charity legacies in your will.

If you make a gift via Gift Aid then the charity will be able to claim basic rate tax back.  For every £80 you give the charity can claim and additional £20. If you pay tax at a rate above the basic rate, then you may be entitled to further tax relief yourself, normally claimed on your self-assessment tax return.

There are of course special rules relating to Gift Aid reliefs, with one of the more important ones being that you must have paid the tax that the charity is going to reclaim.

Calculations can be made to evaluate if it is more beneficial to make a substantial gift to charity in your lifetime compared to charity legacies in your Will.  Of course, tax rules are subject to change.

As you can imagine, this can be a very complicated calculation, again we would recommend professional advice.

More about gift aid can be found here

Being Chartered Accountants and probate practitioners we are taxation specialist, we would be pleased to discuss ways we can help with you..


Our direct support for Charities

We are always pleased to support good causes.  Some of the ways we can help charities:

  • Information for your potential donors, in relation to Gift Aid and the impact on Inheritance Tax of leaving a charity legacies in a Will. We can deliver this in person or assist you with website or newsletter information.
  • We can help spread the word of the work of your charity via our website.
  • Will writing package, we can work with you to offer a discounted Will writing package to people provided they consider making a legacy in their Will to your charity.
  • Charity Legacies advice; as probate practitioners we can advise on administration and dealing with probate solicitors and other professionals.


If you are a charity trustee or help run a charity and would like to discuss the ways in which we could help, please contact us.

Wills and probate Cardiff

We’re excited to find out what we can do for you. Be it a dedicated service or a general inquiry, let’s chat and find out what the next steps are for you.

Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
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British Estates Succession and Trust Practitioners – the ‘BEST
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The National Will Register