Donating a gift to charity in your Will is a special way to help others after you have passed away. Experienced Wills & Estates solicitor, Amanda Smith, explains how you can bequeath to charity in this special blog for the National Jockeys’ Trust.
Many people decide to leave a bequest to charities in their Wills where they don’t have the means to donate to charities during their lifetime. It is a great opportunity for them to leave a gift in their Will after their liabilities, funeral arrangements and family members have been looked after.
Other situations where people leave a gift to a charity in their Will is where they don’t have any family members to leave their estate to or they feel very passionate about a particular charity. The National Jockeys Trust is a charity which looks after jockeys who have become sick or injured, by purchasing for them things like medical aides, wheelchairs and other personal and household items.
How to nominate the National Jockey’s Trust
It is important when considering leaving a bequest to a charity that you choose a charity that is genuine. Your lawyer will be able to assist you in ensuring that the charity you pick is a registered charity. If you choose the National Jockey’s Trust word similar to the following may be used in your Will:
I give the (whole of my Estate/sum of $___ /%/specific gift) to NATIONAL JOCKEYS TRUST for the general charitable purposes of the NATIONAL JOCKEYS TRUST and I declare that the receipt of the person authorised to receive my gift on behalf of NATIONAL JOCKEYS TRUST shall be a full and sufficient discharge to my Executor.
+ If a bequest or whole of the residuary estate is proposed to be left for a specific purpose, or includes assets that may be subject to capital gains tax. Ensure you get legal advice from a lawyer before inserting any clause into your Will.
What can legally constitute a gift
There are different types of bequests you can leave to a charity in your Will. You could leave a cash amount – this can be any amount you would like, large or small. You also have the option of leaving a specific item e.g. property, cars or shares. Another option is to leave a percentage of your estate. This can be any percentage, it’s entirely up to you. The beauty of leaving a percentage of your estate is that your liabilities will have been paid prior to the gift being made and it allows for fluctuation of your assets. Whereas if you leave a cash gift this amount will be paid no matter the value of your estate when you pass away. The downside of leaving a specific item is if you no longer own the item at the date of your death then the charity will miss out.
You also have the option to specify if you would like your gift to be used for a certain purpose within the charity. Your lawyer will be able to provide further advice regarding this and can liaise with the charity of your choice to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled.
How is the gift bequeathed
The first step is to nominate the charity and bequest in your Will. You may need to update your Will or make a Will if you have not done so before. Bear in mind that you can amend your Will as many times as you like throughout your lifetime (as long as you have the capacity to do so).
After you pass away it is your Executor’s job to gather all your assets and distribute them as per your Will. It is important to consider appointing a lawyer as an executor of your Will to ensure that your wishes are carried out and the bequest to the charity is followed through.
If you die without a Will your estate will be distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy. This could result in your estate going to unwanted family members or if you have no family left after you die, your estate could go to the Government.
How Attwood Marshall Lawyers can help
It is important that you obtain legal advice when preparing your Will and ensure that it is prepared correctly, and your wishes are followed. Leaving a gift to a charity in your Will is part of your overall estate plan and there are many factors which need to be considered.