Legal experts say East Anglian charities could be losing out on potential donations due to lack on knowledge on legacies and wills.
As Remember a Charity Week (11th to 17th September) begins, probate professionals at Birketts Solicitors are urging more people to explore their options around leaving critical legacy contributions.
The company’s Probate and Contentious Trust teams claim only a very small minority of the population are currently leaving charitable monies in their will requests – mainly due to lack of awareness.
Bernadette Baker, lead for the firm’s campaigning activity in this arena, said: “At Birketts we have long fostered and encouraged a direct involvement in local charitable and community groups.
“It is our relationships with those causes which confirm to us how little the general population understands about the opportunity to give as a legacy – and what a desperate shame that is for our deserving organisations in this region.”
Current statistics (taken from TNS Social 2008) suggest that 75% of the UK population support charities in their lifetime, but only 7% include a gift to a charity in their will.
Ms Baker continued: “What we call ‘Testamentary freedom’ is a well-established and important principle in England and Wales and enables people to leave their estate to whoever they see fit, charities included.
“There is no minimum or maximum amount, and it’s a real chance for someone to reflect their passions or preferences in a way they see fit.
“We understand it can sound complicated, and yes, wills can be challenged and regularly are, but so long as a person consults with legal representatives about the donation they want to leave, who it’s to and how it is to be granted, then their wishes can be carried out very clearly and simply.”
For more information about Remember a Charity Week, go to http://www.rememberacharity.org.uk/about-us/will-week/
To speak to Bernadette and her team, telephone Birketts on 01473 232300.