The British can always be relied upon to put their hands in their pockets and support a charity — even in these austere times. Look at the generosity and enthusiasm for the last Red Nose Day, for example, which at the time of writing had raised over £78,000,000. Now the good news is that more people than ever are saying that they are leaving a charitable donation in their Wills, too. That's not just important. It's vital. Gifts left in Wills are worth more than £2billion to UK charities.

Rob Cope is Director of Remember a Charity, a coalition of charities set up in 2000 to encourage legacy giving. Here's what he had to say...

“Our latest benchmark survey shows that 17% of the public claim to have left a donation to a charity in their Wills, which is its highest level to date,” Cope says. “We also know that just 11% have never thought about leaving a charitable gift in their Wills. Both of those numbers are encouraging. The challenge now is to make the message even stronger and to say that if your neighbours, friends and family are leaving gifts in their Wills, maybe you should consider it, too.” Remember a Charity highlights that just a 4% change in behaviour would generate an additional £1billion for good causes in the UK every year.

 

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Although making a Will is one of the most important decisions we will ever take, many of us put off doing so: last year, figures from Remember a Charity showed that almost four in 10 over-50s admitted to not having made a Will. Yet it is quick and easy to do; and leaving charitable gifts in Wills is Inheritance tax free. All you need consider is which charity — or charities — you would most like to support.

Perhaps people who aren't including a donation in their Wills are worried that their families would lose out in some way if they did. But Cope points out that there is room to do both. “Your donation doesn't have to be a large amount,” he says.

“Charities are the backbone of our communities and the public has a special relationship with them"

So think about a charity that might have helped you or your family, and what even a small gift could do. What an amazing way to say 'thank you' after you have gone.”

Donations are the lifeblood of charities; and some are suffering — and even folding — without financial support. “Imagine if those good causes weren't there,” says Cope. “By leaving a charitable donation in your Will, you are ensuring that a charity can continue its work and benefit the next generation.”