Charitable giving encouraged when making a will

by Sarah Ashcroft

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has backed a new independent campaign designed to encourage more people to consider charities that have made a difference to their lives when writing a will.

Legacy10, which was launched earlier this week, is itself a registered charity that will not collect or distribute funds, but will try to increase the number of people who leave money to charities when they die, as currently only seven per cent do this.

The organisation has the target of making it the norm for people to leave at least ten per cent of their inheritance to a charitable or cultural cause.

From April 2012, changes to inheritance tax law mean anybody donating this proportion of their estate when making a will can benefit from a cut in inheritance tax from 40 per cent to 36 per cent.

Supporters of Legacy10 include Sir Richard Branson, TV presenter Martyn Lewis, former financial services secretary Lord Myners and now Jeremy Hunt.

"Times are tough at the moment and while people are feeling the pinch, more than half the population still give to charity each month," said the culture secretary.

Lord Myners added: "There is always a danger that in times of economic uncertainty, charitable and cultural donations dwindle.

"The upcoming changes in inheritance tax law present a real opportunity for individuals up and down the country to give to those causes that matter most to them."

Mr Hunt also recently launched the £55 million Catalyst Scheme, which will help arts and heritage organisations to secure financial stability by building endowment funds.

Organisations will be able to bid for grants for up to £5 million by applying to an independent advisory panel chaired by Michael Portillo.

According to government figures, total charitable giving in the UK added up to £10.6 billion in 2009/10, while 56 per cent of adults give to charity every month.

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Published on: November 4, 2011

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