As part of Will to Give Week 2021 (22nd – 26th February) a group of local charities is encouraging people in Northern Ireland to continue the kindness they show to charities during their lifetime by leaving a gift in their Will.
The Individual Giving Survey 2020 commissioned by NICVA shows that almost three quarters of the adult population donated to charity (71%) over the last 12 months – a figure which is considerably higher than the UK wide levels of 57%.
However, when it comes to leaving a gift in our Will, the Individual Giving Survey highlighted that only a small number of respondents (8%) indicated that they intended to leave a gift to charity in their Will. This is much lower in comparison to 35% of people in the rest UK who say they would leave a gift to charity after they had taken care of family and friends.
2020 was a unique year, it has caused a shift in the taboo of talking about death and dying and what we intend to do with our assets after we die. Having a valid and up to date Will is really the only way to ensure control over what will happen to our money, property and possessions after we die.
It’s worrying that only 1 in 4 people in Northern Ireland have a valid and up to date Will. Without a Will you simply cannot control your wishes or leave a gift to charity.
Last year, Will to Give partnered with the online will-making platform Bequeathed to offer people in Northern Ireland the opportunity to write a simple Will for free at a convenient time and in a location that suits you. The guided will-writing interview also highlights the opportunity to leave a gift to charity.
Gifts left in Wills are often the biggest source of income for local charities and make a huge difference to the services that can be provided but most people don’t realise that it’s even an option.
As charities continue to be impacted by the pandemic with the cancellation of the majority of fundraising events and activities, many are highlighting to their supporters the opportunity to continue to show their support by pledging to leave a gift in their Will.
Will to Give represents over 60 of Northern Ireland’s most loved charities with a diverse range of causes including health; medical welfare; animals; aged; education, training and SEN; and disability, working together to encourage people to leave a charitable gift in their Will.
Nicola Kelly, Joint Chairperson of Will to Give said:
“People in Northern Ireland are very kind and we have the highest rate of charitable giving in the UK with 71 per cent of people here giving to a charity every year. However, we also have the lowest rate of people writing a Will and therefore leaving a Gift in their Will. But we’re encouraged to see that the percentage of people intending to leave a gift has increased from 4% in 2019 to 8% in 2020.’
A gift of any size makes such a difference to your chosen charity – it really can help transform the future services and work that can be provided for the good of the whole community for generations to come.
Leanne Hamilton from Belfast, is a mother of two and recently made a Will:
“I have put off making my Will for many years. The events of the past 12 months have really highlighted for me that I simply can’t risk putting it off any longer. I’ve had frank conversations with my family and friends about my wishes and to be honest it has been a huge weight of my mind.”
In a recent episode of the Will to Give podcast as part of Will to Give Week, Leanne was asked if she had left a gift in her Will to charity. She commented,
“Yes I have, I have always been charitable during my lifetime and I see leaving gift in my Will as one of the last things you’ll have control over and the last thing that you’ll be remembered for.”
Michael Graham, Partner of Cleaver Fulton Rankin said:
“The importance of making a Will cannot be overstated. Your Will is the document that deals with the distribution of all your property in the event of your death, so it is important also to make sure you review it regularly and keep it up to date. A properly drafted Will can also have tax advantages and help to protect your beneficiaries if they are in receipt of means assessed benefits, such as state-funded residential care.”
For more information about starting a free online Will today visit www.bequeathed.org/willtogive