Vardags are proud to announce that we are participating in the Free Wills Month campaign this March. This campaign is a unique opportunity for individuals over the age of 55 (or a couple who would like to have mirror wills drawn up, in which case only one of them needs to be 55 or above) to have a new simple will drawn up or an old will amended, paid for by the participating charities. Should you wish to have a new will drawn up for you that is more complicated, you will still receive a contribution towards your will, but you will need to pay the remaining balance yourself. If you are concerned about whether your will would be considered a complicated will, or about the costs of drawing it up, please make sure that you raise this with the wills team at your initial meeting so that they can advise you.
About the campaign
Legacies are an important source of income for charities, accounting for a quarter of the total amount given to charities each year. However, while 35% of people say that they would leave a charitable legacy in their will, only 7% actually do. While it is not obligatory for people participating in the campaign to leave a charitable legacy in their will, statistics provided by the Free Wills team show that 65% of people choose to do so, meaning that not only does this campaign benefit the participating individuals, it also benefits the charities involved.
Why is it important to have a will?
While the focus of this campaign is to enable qualifying individuals to receive a free will, in the hope that they may wish to include a charitable bequest, Free Wills Month is also important in demonstrating the autonomy you can have over your estate by having a will, and how easy it is to have one drawn up for you.
In its recent consultation on wills, the Law Commission has suggested that only about 60% of individuals currently have a will. Reasons for not having a will can include not thinking that their estate will be worth enough to justify it or planning to leave their estate in a way that accords with the intestacy rules anyway. However, contrary to these beliefs, due to current property prices even just owning your own home, particularly where you live in the South East, can mean that your estate will actually be over the nil rate band (the amount of your estate that will be free from inheritance tax, which is currently £325,000). Having a will can enable you not only to decide which assets go to which individual, but you can also make a charitable bequest, if you so wish, and appoint a guardian if you have any children under 18. You can also provide for certain future events, such as your partner or children predeceasing you, or inheriting from another individual, and you can select who you would like to be in charge of executing your estate, provided they consent. Writing a will doesn’t have to be an expensive process, and in so doing, you can protect your loved ones from additional stress caused by the uncertainty and often the shortcomings of the intestacy rules, and ensure that your wishes are respected.
Tax benefits to making a charitable bequest in your will
If you do decide to make a charitable bequest in your will, this can also provide inheritance tax benefits. Not only will your donation be taken off the value of your chargeable estate (the portion of your estate on which you will have to pay inheritance tax), but if you leave more than 10% of your net estate to charity (the gross value of your estate minus any debts), it will also reduce the inheritance tax payable on your estate from 40% to 36%.
Therefore, depending on your estate and your wishes, there can be some serious tax benefits to making a charitable bequest in your will, and this is something that you should raise with your legal team.
How to make a charitable bequest in your will
The size of the donation that you make is completely up to you, it could be a fixed amount, a particular item, or even what’s left in your estate once the other gifts you wish to make have been given out.
How does it work?
It’s actually a very simple process. If you are a qualifying member of the public, all you need to do is contact us and ask for the Free Wills Month team. If you wish us to draw up your new will, you should then contact our client relations team and tell them that you would like to arrange a consultation so that you can receive a new will as part of the Free Wills Month campaign. During your appointment, we will take detailed instructions from you about what you would like to do in your will so that we can draw up a will that accurately reflects your wishes.
For further information regarding the Free Wills Month campaign, please see their website at: https://freewillsmonth.org.uk/
The charities behind Free Wills Month
Our full range of wills, trusts and probate services:
Our solicitors cover the full range of wills, trusts and probate matters. Our clients are typically in one of the following scenarios:
I have an issue with a will or a probate.
I have an issue with a trust.
I need help with Powers of Attorney.
We are ready to help
If you think you may need our help, please call us right away. At an initial consultation we can give you preliminary advice, make a plan and if necessary discuss options to fund your case.
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