Leaving Money to a Charity in Your Will: What to Consider

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Last Will and Testament: The Benefits of Estate Planning

After I had an accident and had to spend some time in the hospital, I decided that it was time to make a will and do some estate planning. After all, you never know what is around the corner, and I would hate for a family member to miss out on inheriting from me if I were to suddenly pass away. I worked with a lawyer to draft a will. We then discussed the various ways I could arrange my estate. I had been worried that I wouldn’t understand the different legal terms, but my lawyer took the time to carefully explain them. I am now much happier knowing that everything is in place. I decided to set up this blog to offer tips to other people who are in the process of planning their estate.


Leaving Money to a Charity in Your Will: What to Consider

18 May 2018
 Categories: Law, Blog

When preparing their wills, many people begin to consider the possibility of leaving a certain amount to the charity or charities of their choice⸺organisations working in a field that is important to them. It can be a gesture that is both thoughtful and important, and it is relatively straightforward to do. However, when bequeathing money to a charity in your will, there are a few points that you need to consider.

Determining the Amount

There are a number of ways to determine the precise amount that will be given to the charity. Many people select an exact monetary value that will go to the charity, but you might wish to select a percentage of your overall estate that will be bequeathed to the charity. This means that the monetary amount is not yet known, as the value of your estate might change during your lifetime. There's also the possibility of a residual bequeathment. This is akin to a prioritised list, so your beneficiaries (family and friends) will receive their inheritance, any outstanding debts will be cleared and the remaining amount will then be donated to the charity.

Changes to the Recipients

You can arrange this charitable bequeathment regardless of whether you write your will yourself or have it created by a solicitor. Having said that, while the document might be a final will and testament, there are a few factors that might mean the document will need to be revised in terms of any charitable bequeathments. What does this entail?

A Change of Mind

Just as your interpersonal relationship with any of your key beneficiaries might cause you to re-think the amount of their bequeathment (or whether they will receive one at all), the same is true with charities. Your ideologies might change to the point where you would wish to change the charity you leave a bequeathment to, or perhaps add another charity to the list of beneficiaries. This is why your will might need to be revised.

The Future of the Charity

You also need to consider the future of the charity in question. In the rare event that the charity becomes insolvent, ideally you would know about it and could amend your will accordingly. You could also leave a provision to the executor of your will. If the charity is no longer in existence when your will is executed, the executor could make arrangements for the amount to be donated to your secondary choice, or to a charity that works in the same field as your original choice (or a comparable one).

It's not all that complicated to leave money to a charity in your will, and yet there are a number of things to be considered so that your wishes can be fulfilled.