Leaving a legacy or living a legacy?

 26 January 2022
Leaving a legacy or living a legacy?

If you’re a fan of genealogy, you’ll know the thrill of discovering what your ancestors achieved in their lifetime. Equally, you might attend the funeral of a senior relative and discover their achievements from their eulogy. It’s often amazing how much “ordinary” people achieve in a lifetime of 90 years plus, much of it after they retire from work.

What you probably won’t discover is what legacy they left in their will, and to whom.

Estate planning isn’t just about what you leave behind. It’s about planning how you will finance everything you want to achieve in life, and beyond. That can include financial support or contributions to good causes throughout your post-work life, rather than a one-off gift when you die.

 

A legacy during your lifetime

These days, many charities will help you write a will with the hope that you might leave the charity a legacy in your will. That’s a lovely thing to do, and would definitely help the charity.

But when will it help them?

If you make your will as you retire, and have a long life expectancy, the charity could be waiting for 30+ years for that legacy to materialise.

In contrast, you could set up small regular payments by direct debit to a charity (or charities) that would add monies to their coffers every month. It doesn’t matter that it’s not a headline sum, the point is that it’s regular. As the supermarket advert says, “Every little helps".

 

Creating a legacy in person

The other legacy you can leave is to get involved with a favourite charity in person by volunteering your services. Charities, especially smaller local ones, are always looking for committee members with specialist skills such as accountancy, marketing, fundraising, and business skills.

They would also welcome “on the ground” volunteers with specific experiences or skills such as social work, DIY, or driving. Volunteering coupled with small donations is both an opportunity to give something back in person, and build a legacy by your actions as well as your financial support.

 

Educational legacies

Many universities and some private employ their students to call older alumnae and encourage them to support the university through student bursary schemes. This is another way to leave a legacy that, for the recipients, will truly last a lifetime and help them build their own legacy in turn. You can also leave an endowment in your will to create a bursary or grant in your name, or a prize for particular achievement in any area.

 

Add 25% with Gift Aid

Whilst an unexpected gift in your will would be gratefully received by any charity, a regular donation topped up with Gift Aid might be more valuable in the long run.

For example, say you decided to leave your chosen charity £1000 in your will. By the time the charity receives your gift in (say) ten years’ time, that £1000 will not buy what it does now. In effect, the value of your gift will have decreased.

However, if you include in your estate planning a regular donation to a charity of, say, £10 a month, then the charity will receive their £1000 in just 8.3 years. In addition, your regular donation could be boosted by 25% each time through the Gift Aid scheme.

As the Gov website explains:

“Donating through Gift Aid means charities and community amateur sports clubs (CASCs) can claim an extra 25p for every £1 you give. It will not cost you any extra. Charities can claim Gift Aid on most donations.”

Under current rules, charities and CASCs can claim Gift Aid on donations made from individuals so long as:

  • You are a UK tax payer

AND

  • Have completed a Gift Aid form giving the charity permission to claim it

 

Tax benefits of Gift Aid

What’s more, as the donor, you can also claim tax relief on your donation! The Gov website example is:

“You donate £100 to charity - they claim Gift Aid to make your donation £125. You pay 40% tax so you can personally claim back £25.00 (£125 x 20%).”

There are special rules about the way you donate too, as the Gov website explains. If in doubt, ring the charity/ies in question and ask - they will be more than happy to advise you!

 

Growing legacies

With the increasing concern about the planet, your legacy could be a contribution to protecting the environment for future generations. Apart from the many charities you can support, you might also consider practical measures such as making your home and harden more eco-friendly.

You might buy a plot of woodland to protect it from future developments, or set up a community recycling scheme that “tops up” what your council can offer on its limited funding.

Equally, you can volunteer on an ad hoc basis for local environmental projects such as river or beach cleans that help your community - and the planet.

 

Remarkable legacies in remarkable times

The pandemic saw a remarkable number of people spotting issues that needed solving - and stepping up to do so. One example is For the Love of Scrubs. It started with a call for help by a busy nurse and mum on Facebook to sew scrubs, simple washable outfits for NHS staff that could be worn under PPE.

It turned into a nationwide network of sewers creating sets of scrubs and hats from donated new fabrics and second-hand bedding. Local motorbike enthusiasts stepped up to collect and deliver bales of scrubs, often direct to the hospitals most in need.

For the Love of Scrubs saved the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds and kept hospital stocked when professional suppliers could not keep up with demand. Many of the sewers created their own little legacy by adding a “made by xxxx” label to their scrubs, and often getting a shout-out on social media with NHS staff posing in their special scrubs.

In 2020 For the Love of Scrubs founder Ashleigh Linsdell was appointed an OBE for her services to the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic.

So, why not start creating your legacy today? At Panthera Estate Planning, we can help you plan lasting legacies that are sustainable, affordable and beneficial too.

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