CHARITIES and legal firms across the region are enabling thousands of people to generously ‘gift’ to causes in their final will and testament.
Data revealed nationally this week, to mark Remember a Charity in Your Will Week, has shown Britain has been more generous than ever in the last 12 months, and leaves some £2.8 billion to causes every year.
Community Action Suffolk, the umbrella organisation for the county’s voluntary sector, says the increase in such ‘gifting’ and legacy activity has been helped enormously by charities and legal practices across Suffolk coming together to encourage the public to understand options.
In turn, this has seen organisations benefit not only with more income, but in increased awareness of their specific community work.
“The charities and social enterprises we engage with throughout Suffolk tell us there has definitely been an increase in people wanting to support local causes through legacy giving,” said Pete Richardson, CEO of Community Action Suffolk.
“Where some national charities may have had to fight harder to sustain trust and public perception, it seems more people therefore decide they want to leave money to a cause or organisation which is on the doorstep of where they live and work.”
Since the turn of 2018, Age UK Suffolk has successfully received some £140,000 through gifts in wills.
Each year, in the month of February, the charity campaigns to help the public understand their options around gift-giving through their will, and joins forces with legal practices to provide a free drafting of a will.
Jo Reeder, Head of Fundraising & Marketing, said: “The Age UK Suffolk Will Month, which takes place in February each year, is a great way of encouraging individuals to get their affairs in order whilst supporting a local charity as well.
“We are keen to encourage people of all ages to have a current Will – this isn’t something that can or should wait until we reach a later stage of life, and is really important, in ensuring that should the worst happen, your wishes are carried out, giving your loved ones peace of mind, at an already difficult time.
“In 2018, we were delighted that 56 people wrote their wills through our scheme, which was run in partnership with ten Suffolk-based legal practices.”
Legal firms like Birketts regularly support individuals to address sensitive matters related to leaving money from their estate.
Marie Batchelor, Associate and specialist in advising on contentious legacies at Birketts LLP, said: “The number of people leaving legacies to charities is rising, which is wonderful, but it’s so important that they formalise matters with a professional to try to ensure their specific wishes are met.
“Estate disputes are sadly on the rise; recent case law has bolstered the position of charities in some claims however disputes are still stressful and costly and getting the right advice when you draft your will helps to ensure your money actually benefits those you really want it to, in the way you want it to.”
The national statistics released this week were collated by Smee and Ford, in advance of Remember a Charity in Your Will Week, which runs from September 10th to 16th.
For more information about Community Action Suffolk in general, go to www.communityactionsuffolk.org.uk or contact firstname.lastname@example.org and 01473 345 400.