Almost a quarter of Wills handled by UK legal advisers include a donation to charity.

Remember-A-Charity’s latest survey of the Will-writing sector shows that solicitors and professional Will-writers are playing an increasingly important role in legacy giving.

The annual survey, carried out by independent research firm Savanta, reveals that almost three-quarters (73%) always or sometimes raise the option of leaving charitable bequests in Wills to their clients.

Now almost a quarter (24%) of Wills handled by UK legal advisers include a donation to charity; showing steady growth and long-term change over the past decade, up from 16% in 2014.

Gifts in Wills are the largest single source of voluntary income for charities in the UK, raising £3.85 billion for good causes annually and funding vital charitable services.

Over a third (36%) of all solicitors and Will-writers say they always raise the option of a charitable legacy with relevant clients, while less than one in 10 (9%) say they never do so. Of those who don’t always raise the issue, more than one quarter (26%) say the most prominent reason is because they do not want to influence their client’s decision.

Lucinda Frostick, Director at Remember A Charity, said: “When it comes to growing legacy giving, engagement and support from across the Will-writing community is crucial. This benchmarking study charts a continual rise in the proportion of Wills made through solicitors and Will-writers that include a charitable gift and that’s so important for charities that rely on legacy income. These donations may not arrive for some years yet, but they will fund vital services and charities’ core costs for generations to follow.”

When asked about the most common barriers to legacy giving for clients, solicitors and Will-writers believe the most common reasons are that they want to leave their full estate to their family (83%), that they have difficulty choosing which charity/charities to support (38%) or that it may cause/lead to dispute (38%).

At Prior Knowledge we are very proud that in 100% of cases we offer the option for clients to leave a bequest to charity(ies). We do this either as a specific gift, or as part of the reserve beneficiaries (the ‘longstop’ scenario) where the client may not be survived by any bloodline.

All gifts to UK charities are exempt from inheritance tax as well, so there is sometimes an added incentive for clients to make such gifts, as this reduces the overall amount going to the treasury whilst assisting a favoured charity or charities. Of course, clients will always want to favour family first, but, we believe, you have to ask the client about charitable legacies in order to get a positive response. If you don’t ask, the client will almost always not consider this option.

Please contact Prior Knowledge to learn how charitable gifts can be utilised, as a means of reducing IHT, or not.