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Your Later Life 2021

Shape the future with a gift in your Will

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Sam Edwards

Monica Brown

Head of Legacy Giving, Charities Aid Foundation

Giving to charity in Wills is vital to the survival of some of the UK’s most beloved causes.


How would you like to be remembered? What does it mean to leave a lasting legacy? Children and grandchildren? Contribution to your community or time spent volunteering in retirement?

Over the last decade, legacy giving – leaving money to a cause in your Will – has become increasingly vital to charities both large and small. Donations left in Wills fund more than half of Marie Curie hospices, one in every six children in NSPCC care, a third of research done by Cancer Research UK and six out of every 10 RNLI lifeboat launches.

With charities counting the cost of the pandemic on their ability to fundraise, it is estimated that they face a collective £10 billion shortfall this year.

Helping ‘the man on the street’

William Arthur Hamlin was a successful local builder with a determination to “help the man on the street.” In his will he left nearly £1 million to the University of East Anglia to be awarded in a Dragon’s Den-style scheme to encourage young people from non-privileged backgrounds to run with their entrepreneurial ideas. The money funds start-up grants to test out their budding business ideas and small-scale investments to develop their enterprises.

Stitching a community together

Jean Williams’ legacy has made an enormous difference to a small group of women in the rural town of Crickhowell in Wales. Inspired by Jean’s passion for embroidery, her gift funds a sewing circle which brings together people who might otherwise face social isolation. This weekly event stimulates creative energy and provides a tremendous and much-needed boost to mental wellbeing.

Shaping the future

Just 6% of people leave a gift to charity in their Will, yet this generosity represents more than a quarter of voluntary income for charities. Including a charitable donation in your Will is straight-forward and the Charities Aid Foundation offers a flexible way to leave one gift to benefit as many charities and good causes as you like.

Your intentions can be focused or varied. Like Jean and William, your wishes can reflect your interests and passions or causes close to your heart. The choice is yours to make. But it is important to give it some thought because legacy giving can represent the future you leave behind.

Just 6% of people leave a gift to charity in their Will, yet this generosity represents more than a quarter of voluntary income for charities.

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is a charity that helps connect donors with charities and encourages giving in all its forms. For more than 90 years we have helped donors, companies, charities and social organisations make a bigger impact, including in recent years annually overseeing more than £20 million worth of legacy giving that people have entrusted into our care.

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