Charity urges parties to offer rewards to those who donate through wills

A letter to the main political parties from Alex McDowell, chair of Remember A Charity, says people should be given financial incentives to leave legacy donations

The legacy consortium Remember A Charity has called on the major political parties to offer a financial incentive for people who leave gifts to charities in their wills.

In a letter sent to the main political parties this week, Alex McDowell, chair of Remember A Charity, says there should be some kind of financial incentive for people whose estates do not attract inheritance tax to leave charitable legacies.

Inheritance tax does not usually apply to estates worth less than the £325,000 threshold, or if everything is left to the person’s spouse or a charity or a community amateur sports club.

McDowell’s letter points out that although research suggests 35 per cent of people in the UK are happy to give small amounts to charity in their wills, only 6.3 per cent of people actually leave charitable gifts.

He calls on the parties to develop employer incentives to promote charitable will-writing to staff and customers, and asks politicians to encourage all solicitors to provide charitable options during the will-writing process.

"No matter who is elected or which individuals make up our new parliament, government’s support in developing fiscal incentives and helping making legacy giving a social norm really is critical," said McDowell in a statement today.

"Legacies are the largest single source of voluntary income and their growth is essential if we are to enable a stronger and more resilient charitable sector.

"After today, we’ll continue to work with whoever forms the next government to enlist their support in creating the best possible environment to nurture and grow legacy giving."

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