Having an up-to-date will is important as it is the best way to ensure that your estate is passed on family and friends in the least stressful and most tax-efficient way.
A recent YouGov survey found that close to two thirds of adults across Great Britain have not yet got round to writing a will. If you die without a valid will in place, you are deemed to have died intestate, which can cause additional stress for loved ones at an already stressful and upsetting time.
Dying intestate also means that your estate will be distributed according to laws of your country and may mean that your assets and possessions are not inherited by the people you would ideally have chosen.
Leaving a Charitable Bequest
As well as protecting your loved ones’ inheritance, a will is also a good way to leave a financial legacy to a cause close to your heart in the form of a charitable bequest.
According to the collaborative charity campaign, Remember a Charity, there has been a 10% increase between 2014 and 2015 in the number of charities named in wills across England, Scotland and Wales, taking the total in 2015 to 9,910 organisations.
Around 45% of the charities named in a will last year had not previously been named as legacy beneficiaries since the data was first recorded in 2012. Between 2012 and the end of 2015, 19,261 charities were apparently included in wills.
The figures also show that 47% of the charities that appeared for the first time in a will in 2015 were religious charities. Culture and heritage based charities accounted for 12%, followed by community (10%) and educational causes (7%). There has apparently been a marked decline in the number of animal charities included in wills, but a rise in the number of health related organisations.
Charitable Estates on an Upward Trend
According to Smee & Ford, which compiled the data, charitable estates are on an upward trend, rising from 28,982 in 2007 to 36,226 in 2015, despite a fall in the death rate. Charitable bequests are apparently now included in a sixth of wills that go to probate.
Smee & Ford’s analysis reveals an 8% increase in legacy income between 2013 and 2014, taking the total amount bequeathed in 2014 to £2.208 billion.
“These findings mirror our own experiences at Remember A Charity, where we are getting more and more enquiries from a range of charities, including arts and health organisations, that have recently entered the legacy field,” commented Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity.
“Greater competition may mean that some charities will see their market share squeezed, which is why our collective work to encourage and grow legacy giving is so important,” he added. “Our drive for behavioural change in the wider public is ever more important in making legacy giving a social norm.”
For legal advice on writing or updating a will, or to discuss including a charitable bequest in your will, then contact our expert will writing lawyers today.