What can you donate to a charity in your will?

Create Your Will & Donate to Charity

If you’re thinking of leaving a gift or percentage of your estate to a well-known charity or one that’s close to your heart when you pass away, you might be wondering what types of assets you can donate.

It’s not always simply a case of leaving a lump sum of money to a charity in your Will; there are many different ways in which you can donate, no matter how big or small your gift is.

In this guide, we explain the types of gifts you can leave to a charity of your choice in your Last Will and Testament.

The types of gifts you can donate to a charity in your Will

When it comes to donating to charity, it is completely up to you what you want to leave to the organisation in the event of your death and how much of your estate you wish them to benefit from. 

While you are completely free to do this, it’s important to make sure that any dependents you have (i.e. children, partner) are cared for as well to avoid any upset and distress when the time comes.

Before writing your Will or when it comes to updating your existing Will to leave money to charity, it’s good to know what types of gifts you can leave behind to help you plan the distribution of your estate.

You can leave the following to a charity in your Will:

  • Financial assets: Including any cash, stocks and shares, bonds, and savings.
  • Property: Such as your home or other building you own.
  • Personal items: Car, jewellery, artwork, etc.

Let’s go into more detail.

Financial assets

If you want to leave money to a charity in your Will, this is a wonderful way of leaving behind a positive legacy to help those in need in the future when you’re no longer here.

Another major benefit of leaving a lump sum behind is that it reduces the overall amount of inheritance tax owed by your loved ones in the event of your passing, meaning that they can get the most out of the inheritance you’ve left them.

An example of leaving behind a financial asset to a charity in your Will could be a specific amount of money from your savings account, or perhaps you want to leave a percentage of your entire estate value to a charity once all debts, tax, gifts and other expenses have been paid off.

Alternatively, you can also decide to leave all money from your estate to a charity after you pass away, but if you have family and loved ones that you want to make sure are cared for when you’re no longer here, we highly recommend making sure that they will receive inheritance before leaving most or all of your estate to a charity.

Property

Rather than leaving a lump sum of money to a charity in your Will, you can choose to donate an entire property or a portion of the sale of a property to your chosen charity. It really is up to you, but whatever you decide, it’s important that you clearly explain your wishes and intentions in your Will.

You may even own another property as well as your home, such as a shop for your business which you may wish to leave to a charity, leaving your loved ones to benefit fully from the family home.

If you have a partner or spouse that you want to carry on living in your home once you’ve passed away, you can write your property in a trust in your Will to ensure that nothing happens to your home while your spouse is still alive. You can clearly explain that you want the home, or part of it, to go to a charity in the event of your partner’s death, or you could even state that you want part of it to be left to your children and the rest to a charity once you and your partner are no longer here. This is known as a ‘property protection trust’, which our team at Charity Wills can help you with.

Personal items

Each item that you own makes up your entire estate and these are called assets. As well as any money and savings you may have, your other physical assets might include the following:

  • Car(s)
  • Van(s)
  • Jewellery
  • Paintings
  • Furniture
  • Collectible items

An asset is essentially any item you own that is worth something and can be sold for cash.

With this in mind, you may wish to leave a valuable item, or items, to a charity when you pass away, but you will need to clearly explain this in your Will and also carefully consider which items you want to leave to loved ones before donating anything to a charity.

Whatever you leave to charity in your Will, it’s worth remembering that if you leave 10% or more of your entire estate to a specific charity, the inheritance tax owed by your loved ones will decrease from 40% of your entire estate to 36%, so it’s good to bear this in mind when writing or updating your Will.

How to donate to a charity in your Will

There are two main ways in which you can leave money or an asset to a charity in a Will, which are:

  1. State the name of the charity or charities in your Will that you want to benefit from your inheritance.
  2. Name a trustee or trustees in your Will who will have the responsibility of deciding which charity to leave a legacy to.

When writing the name of your chosen charity in your Will, make sure you include the charity’s registration number to avoid any confusion when the time comes. Many charities change their name for certain reasons, so it’s important to include the registered charity number in case this happens.

If you’re letting your named trustees choose a charity, it is important to include clear instructions to help them decide the appropriate charity.

If you need any help at all with donating a lump sum or an asset to a particular charity, our team is on hand to help guide you; simply get in touch with us today.

Can I leave everything to a charity in my Will?

Yes, you can leave your entire estate to a chosen charity in your Will, but it is highly important that you consider your loved ones first and make sure that any dependents are cared for in the event of your death. If you don’t include them in your Will, they will no doubt be very upset and confused later on.

If you have no family or loved ones then by all means, you are entitled to gift your entire estate to a charity, just be sure to choose one for the right reasons to give you peace of mind that your donation will go to a good cause.

How to get started

As you can see, there are many things to consider when writing a Will and leaving part, or all, of your estate to a charity.

At Charity Wills, we have a team of experts available to help you should you need professional help and advice along the way, and for those who wish to leave a donation to charity, writing a Will with us is completely free!

Get started now by registering with us for free and get peace of mind for the rest of your life knowing that your hard-earned assets will go exactly where you want them to.