Leaving a legacy

Legacies account for a very high proportion of the British Humanist Association’s voluntary income: in some years as much as 80%. Without the generous legacies we receive, we simply could not carry out the work we do to support and represent humanists. Whether you can leave us a legacy of £50 or £50,000, including the BHA in your will is the perfect way to ensure that your support for the organisation continues far into the future. And charitable legacies are paid before tax is deducted, so a bequest to the BHA reduces the total amount of inheritance tax due from your estate.

Why is making a will so important?

Many people never make a will because they assume everything will go to their partner or children – but this isn’t always the case. So it’s really important to plan what will happen to your money when you die, however large or small the amount may be. To make sure your money goes to the people you choose, you – and your partner if you have one – should both make a will.

What do I have to do?

For most people, making or amending a will is a very simple process, but the BHA would always recommend that you use a solicitor or a will writing service – it is far too important to risk making a mistake.

If you do not already have or know a solicitor or will writing service, you can find one in the Yellow Pages, and they will be able to tell you how to leave a legacy to the BHA in your will.

The fee for drawing up a will should be quite small – ask the solicitor how much they charge before deciding who to use. You may want to find a will writer through a professional body such as the Law Society www.solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk, Institute of Professional Willwriters www.ipw.org.uk or the Society of Will Writers www.thesocietyofwillwriters.co.uk.

If your will is going to be very simple, you could use a DIY will template, of which many are available online for a small fee. Alternatively, you can get your will written for free via schemes such as: http://freewillsmonth.org.uk  and http://www.willaid.org.uk.

Your legacy: the facts

There are two main types of legacies:

  • Residuary bequest – this means that once your family and loved ones have been provided for, you pledge the remainder, or a proportion of your estate, to the charity.
  • Pecuniary bequest – this means that you pledge a specific sum of money to the charity.

For more information, click on the “Your legacy: the facts” link to the right.

For more information or advice contact Remember a Charity: www.rememberacharity.org.uk.

Thank you for thinking about the British Humanist Association when you make your will. Your legacy will be very much appreciated.