Who May Benefit From A Will? - Charities And More

By Stan Taylor Written on:

Want to make a start on your will?

Making a will is simple

Making a Will is not about wealth it is about making sure that what you want to happen to your estate does happen. It gives you the opportunity to specify such things as who will administer your estate, who will care for your children and who will receive specific items of your property.

For the purposes of a will the big difference is that only those organisations accepted as charities by the Inland Revenue are exempt from inheritance tax. This distinction is therefore only likely to bother you if you are planning a charitable gift as part of tax planning.

See http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/Charity-requirements-guidance/Charity-governance/Good-governance/equality-act-guidance.aspx

You may if you wish leave your entire estate to your executors to allocate between charities of their choosing.

This course of action is not recommended as your executors will quickly be inundated with literature and begging letters from hundreds of charities who have been made aware of the terms of the will.

On this point I speak from personal experience. Within days of publication of the will both my office email and the executors' were inundated with spam brochures and mails from dozens of charities.

Sifting through them to establish some criteria for final selection was a huge task. Fortunately both executors agreed as to the criteria to adopt but what if they had had different views as to what the testator would have agreed with?

It is wise to specify what is to happen to the money if the chosen charity has ceased to exist or has changed its name or merged with another.

Clarity is again the order of the day. It is a true but regrettable fact that charities can act in a most uncharitable manner when large sums of money are at stake. In this they are no different from any other class of beneficiary.

Given that a gift to a registered charity is tax-exempt it can be a last resort weapon in tax planning. If you have done everything you can to avoid inheritance tax and there is still a potential bill, leave the money to charity.

Your relatives will still miss out on the amount in question but at least you are deciding where the money should go rather than leaving it to be paid into the general taxation pot.

If you are keen on benefiting charitable causes you may be interested in a couple of schemes operated by solicitors in conjunction with charities. The details are given in the Appendix.

Find out more - Your Employer or Making The Beneficiaries Jump Through Hoops

Will Making basics

Free Will Sample download

see: Making a will - The Law Society. Please note that will making differs in Scotland and this website currently deals with English laFree Will download


Perhaps you might consider taking legal advice from a solicitor about making a will if any of the following apply to your circumstances:


  1. A number of people could make a claim on your estate when you pass away because they depend on yourself financially
  2. You want to include a trust in your will (perhaps to provide for children, to save tax, or simply protect your assets in some way after you become deceased)
  3. Your physical and permanent home is not in the UK and / or you are not a British citizen
  4. You live here in the UK but you have additional property abroad
  5. You own all or part of a UK business.

see: Making a will - The Law Society. Please note that will making differs in Scotland and this website currently deals with English law.

"Will Making" in the Media