Charitable Wills: A Beacon of Hope

All legal sectors
1 September 2020

At the start of this year, who could predict that – within a matter of months – the nation would be so transformed? That a global pandemic would have devastated so many lives, communities and businesses, and left UK charities facing the double-edged sword of massive funding losses, while demand for their services increased dramatically.

From hospices to NHS charities, air ambulances to lifeguards, support for the elderly, shelter for the homeless and many more, charities have been critical in helping the nation cope with the crisis, shining a light on the importance they play at the heart of our communities.

At a time when fundraising activities were heavily limited by social distancing requirements, furloughed staff and a shortage of resource, it was income from gifts in Wills – much of which was pledged years or even decades previously – that has helped to sustain many charities and funded frontline services. And now, with the legal profession and charities reporting an increase in demand for Wills, it brings a beacon of hope that conversation about legacy giving is becoming more prominent and that this vital income stream will continue to grow in the coming years.

Leaving a Charitable Legacy

For thousands of people each year, their Will is an opportunity not only to support loved ones, but to shape the world they leave behind. Legacy donations raise over £3 billion for charities in this country annually – a phenomenal sum. And while 40% of the over 40s[1] say they would be happy to leave a gift in their Will, currently it’s a minority of around 6% that do so. In other words, while legacy giving is rapidly growing, there is a far greater potential yet to be met.

Charitable giving isn’t always front of mind when people write their Wills or plan their wealth. Some simply don’t know they have the option of including a gift. Others think their gift would be too small. So, it’s conversations with professional advisors that can make all the difference, enabling clients to consider their options and include everything they care about in their Will.

Anyone can choose to benefit a charity alongside their loved ones and even the smallest gift can make a real impact to the good causes they care about, while offering generous tax benefits too.

This growth in appetite for Will-writing could indeed be a pivotal opportunity to grow philanthropy while ensuring the public’s final wishes are met. So, as we head towards Remember A Charity Week, we’re encouraging professional advisers to join the conversation and to ensure that every client is given the option of including a gift once they have taken care of their family and friends.


- Written by Lucinda Darby, Marketing Manager of Remember A Charity – a consortium of 200 charities working to promote gifts in Wills across the UK.

Next week is Remember A Charity Week (07-13 September 2020) – a national awareness campaign for gifts in Wills. Remember A Charity offers free resources for advisors promoting legacy giving. Find out more at Remember A Charity.

Arken Professional's intelligent questionnaire has a number of inbuilt features that ensures charitable giving is considered during the Will writing process. To coincide with Remember a Charity Week, Arken Professional users can join a webinar on Wednesday 9th September at 10am, which gives an overview of the ways in which you can reduce a testator's liability to inheritance tax by gifting 10% of the estate to charity. Please email to book your place.


[1] One Poll (2019)