We spoke to Eoin McConville LL.B LL.M. of Fisher & Fisher Solicitors who told Will to Give why he is supporting our campaign to promote Will making and charitable gifts in Wills.
“Leaving a gift to charity in your Will, can help pass on the benefits you have experienced in your lifetime to the next generation. That’s why I am supporting #changethefuture.”
Read on to find out Eoin’s experiences of writing Wills and how he approaches the subject of charitable gifts.
This year’s Will to Give week will take place 6th – 12th November and focuses on asking people to Make a Will, Leave a gift to Charity and #changethefuture. Why are you supporting our awareness campaign?
I think it’s a really laudable cause. Life after death (for the family) is a real concern for people and raising awareness of making a Will is very important. Solicitors have the skill set to give people peace of mind.
What cause/charity do you support and why?
I support a local Lourdes Committee and I am also passionate about the work Newry Hospice does. Death and bereavement visits everyone, and the Hospice does magnificent work to humanise the process. On a personal note, my Grandmother died there and I witnessed first-hand how the charity helped her die with great dignity. We are very fortunate to have this facility in our local area.
What would you wish for your cause/charity in the future?
I would like (for example) to see the Hospice carry on its work and be here to serve not only my generation but my daughters’ generation too. No one likes to think of dying, however leaving a gift in your Will to a charity of your choice can help their work and your memory live on.
What would you say are the three most important considerations for clients making a Will?
Assuming a client has testamentary capacity to make a Will, then: –
- Clients should give considerable thought to whom they wish to include (or exclude) in their Will. It should be planned rather than reactionary, and should consider everyone who could have a potential claim to their Estate.
- I feel there is a shroud of secrecy over Wills, which might sometimes be unwarranted. People understandably don’t want to talk about their Will, however I respectfully feel that some clients should discuss their Will with their family to help manage expectations and to avoid the Will being contested (and all the distress and costs that could potentially have).
- It would be remiss of me not to say that leaving a gift to a charity is an important consideration, small affordable sums can make a big difference.
Do you ask clients to leave a charitable gift in their Will? If so, what do you say?
If it’s appropriate to ask clients, I might, though I don’t push it. I understand the vital role that Professional Advisors can play in helping clients leave a gift to charity if they wish to but ultimately it is the client’s choice.
How do clients usually respond?
Some clients are prepared and have a list of charities they wish to support – especially those who have received charitable support and appreciate costs need to be covered to maintain their work. I also find clients who have no one to leave their estate to might leave a charitable gift in their Will.
What percentage of your clients, would you say leave a charitable gift in their Will, when asked?
I would say around 10% of my clients or perhaps slightly less leave a gift in their Will.
What advice would you give to other Professional Advisors?
Make sure you describe the charity correctly and recite the correct registered charity number, so that the charity that is intended to benefit, does. And especially if the charity is unincorporated, perhaps ask the client to consider nominating a substituted charity in case the primary bequest fails.
Have you anything else to add to help people who are considering making a Will and leaving a gift to charity?
I would say a Will is your legal legacy. To help your bereaved family, make sure you carefully think about it and discuss your plans – especially if you anticipate that your Will might cause disappointment. A thoughtless Will could inadvertently sow (or ingrain) the seeds of future friction!
A Will is also a tax planning instrument. This might mean that a Will could be utilised to minimise the inheritance tax otherwise payable and to maximise the resources which you pass on.
Leaving a gift to charity in your Will, will help pass on the benefits you have experienced in your lifetime to the next generation. That’s why I am supporting #changethefuture.
“Thank you, Eoin, for your time and insight into the science of Will making and having conversations with clients on leaving a charitable gift. From all of us at Will to Give, please continue your efforts to change the future!”
Asking clients to consider leaving a gift in their Will can change the future
A piece of research undertaken by social purpose company The Behavioural Insights Team and the University of Bristol, commissioned by Remember a Charity found:
Discussing charitable legacies in the context of Will-making and in face-to-face meetings is seen as highly appropriate. In an online survey, 46% of respondents said that solicitors have a duty to ask clients about legacy giving, while most respondents were supportive of solicitors asking about charitable giving in Wills.
People writing their Wills for the first time, who heard that others had given, went on to donate roughly 40% more than those who did not receive this information.
Following this research the Law Society Gazette reported Solicitors are ‘crucial’ to charitable bequests.