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Charitable donations still high on our agenda

Despite the seemingly endless round of cuts, austerity drives and doom and gloom making the headlines, people still put charitable donations high on their agenda.

They say that “charity begins at home” and what better example than the fact that last year, Britons left £2.85billion to charity through gifts in their wills. Health charities, such as Macmillan Cancer Support and the British Heart Foundation were top beneficiaries. Other charities to benefit were the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, RSPCA and the National Trust.

The importance of these legacies should not be underestimated: six out of every 10 lifeboat launches are possible only because of the gifts left in wills.

Anything left to charity is exempt from inheritance tax. In addition if more than 10% of an estate is left to charity the remainder of the estate qualifies for a reduced rate of inheritance tax.

However, charities are concerned that the recent increase in probate fees will have an impact on them and could lose them up to £10million a year. Perhaps this loss could be offset if more people can be encouraged to leave a legacy in their will.

And there is plenty of scope for an increase. It’s estimated that there are around 30 million adults in the UK who have not made a will. According to Will Aid, who promote charitable giving in wills, more than half of those with children do not have a will and more than 60% of unmarried couples have not made a will.

What can I put in my will?
Absolutely anything and everything you hold dear can be safeguarded through a will. This could be a beloved pet, a treasured trinket and of course a charity that’s close to your heart.

How much should I leave to my favourite charity?
If you want to leave a legacy you decide the amount yourself, there is no minimum amount. Alternatively, you can specify a percentage of your estate which will pass to charity.

How do I get started?
Making a will couldn’t be easier. Just call and make an appointment; home visits can be arranged if necessary. One of our friendly professionals will talk you through all the options you have. You don’t have to worry – they will take the time to understand what you want your will to achieve and make sure that it’s written to reflect your wishes.

Within a week you will get a draft copy to have a read through. Once you’re completely happy with everything, we get it witnessed and that’s it, you have a valid will. You receive a copy and we store a copy free of charge for you.

What if I change my mind later and want to alter something?
There will be a charge, but you are free to change your will anytime you choose, in fact, we recommend that you consider reviewing it every few years, especially if your circumstances change.

How much does it cost?
Most people only need a simple will, these are £125 for a single will or £200 for a pair of mirror wills (suitable for couples).
The charge may be higher if you have complicated financial affairs, in which case, we will give you a quote for the work at the outset.

Call us on 01302 320621 or email info@athertongodfrey.co.uk

Author: Gail Harris

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