Gifts in wills, also known as legacies, are a really important source of income for charities in the UK. They tend to be of a higher value than one-off donations and also help charities with their long-term planning, especially if they’ve been notified of intent beforehand. As gifts to charities are exempt from inheritance tax, this can be a particularly tax-efficient way to not only benefit the causes you care for, but will also reduce the amount of inheritance tax payable after your death, which also helps your other beneficiaries.

Supporting your chosen charity during your lifetime is one thing, but making a statement that you’re going to support them afterwards can really deepen the bond between you and your cause. Don’t forget to let your chosen charity know that you have decided to provide for them in your Will. This will not only help them plan for the future but also they will be able to thank you for your generosity and keep you informed of current projects.

Legacies can be separated into three categories:

• A pecuniary legacy: a gift of a specific sum of money.

• A specific legacy: a gift of a particular named item.

• A residuary legacy: a fraction or all of the remaining part of your estate once your family and friends have been provided for.

Once you have decided which charity you would like to leave a legacy to and what sort of gift you would like to make, it is time to put your wishes down in writing and see a solicitor to make your Will. If you have already provided for your family and friends by making a Will, but would like to alter it to include a gift to charity, you can do so by drawing up a codicil. It is recommended that you contact your solicitor to incorporate the codicil into your Will as the document is not legally binding on its own.

It is important that the details of your charity are correctly written in your Will; any errors might mean that your charity won’t receive your gift.

Make sure to include the charity’s name, full address and Registered Charity Number.