Will You Be Remembering a Charity?

Following this week’s Court of Appeal decision, Ilott v Mitson, it was decided that a lady who died leaving a Will disinheriting her only daughter and giving all of her property and money to three charities was unreasonable in doing so. This led the Court of Appeal to re-writing the Will so as to provide the daughter with one third of the lady’s property and money. The remaining two thirds are to be split between the charities.

There were several reasons for this decision but one of particular note for the purposes of this blog article is that the Judges felt that the charities had simply been picked out of spite to ensure the daughter received nothing and that there was no connection to the charity.

Many people include charities in their Wills where they have previously had no connection to the charity. It is a regular conversation with people making Wills that they wish to include, for example, a children’s charity because they like children. They have no particular connection to the charity they pick other than its purposes are to care for children. Likewise, many people decide to include charities because during their lifetime they have been unable to be as charitable as they might have liked.

What should you do if you wish to include charities in your will, especially where it is potentially at the expense of any members of your family?

Your first step should be to consider which charity or charities you wish to give your property and/or money to when you die. There are so many worthwhile charities out there both local and national you could include. You may wish to include one or a number of them. The choice is yours.

Your second step should be to obtain professional advice in regards to the drafting of your Will. Your solicitor will likely advise you to do a Letter of Wishes wherein you explain why you have chosen to give all or some of your property and money to your chosen charity. Here you can begin to establish a connection to the charity.

Your third step should be to establish a connection with your chosen charity. This connection is entirely your choice and ultimately depends upon what you are comfortable with. You may wish to contact the charity and ask to be placed onto their mailing list or let their legacy department know that you have included them in your Will. We understand from various charities that it is particularly helpful to them to be aware of gifts they may receive in the future as it helps them to understand where their donations are coming from. Of course, you may not feel comfortable providing this information if you feel that you are then bound to keep that particular charity in your Will forever.

If you can afford to do so, you may wish to consider giving donations to the charity on an infrequent or regular basis, if you do so, you should keep records of the same or ensure the donation is not on an anonymous basis. You could also attend events that the charity runs, for example, Rainbows Hospice (www.rainbows.co.uk) has a variety of different events which you could attend. Finally, you could volunteer at your chosen charity which would then show a very strong connection to that charity. Of course, all of these suggestions would, we are sure, be strongly welcomed by your chosen charity.

If you would like advice about your Will whether or not you wish to include a charity, then please do not hesitate to contact Samantha Downs on 0116 2628596