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Charitable giving

Charitable giving as part of your overall estate planning enables you to support the causes that are important to you during your lifetime or after your death. For example, you may decide that you want to make regular charitable donations, explore social investment, establish a charitable entity or leave a charitable gift in your Will. Our specialist private wealth solicitors can advise you on how best to structure your philanthropy to maximise the benefits for you, your loved ones and the causes close to your heart.

Our philanthropic clients include individuals and families, business owners and those with international interests. We work with them to understand their priorities and ensure that all parties reap the rewards of charitable giving in terms of achieving both the maximum impact for charity and being efficient for tax purposes.

How our charitable giving solicitors can help

You may have an idea of how you would like to contribute to charity, or you may be seeking guidance on the options available to you. We are experienced in working with clients to navigate the legal regulations of charitable giving and tax planning and can advise on the following:

Charitable giving in your Will

With the correct planning, charitable giving in your Will can be structured to ensure your wishes have a lasting impact and secure additional tax reliefs. Our solicitors can advise on the best way to make any charitable gifts to ensure your estate enjoys the maximum benefit from any associated tax reliefs and exemptions. This means that the gift to charity is maximised, as is the remainder of your estate.

Lifetime giving

Lifetime giving can be an important part of your overall estate planning and can also have an impact on the inheritance tax your loved ones pay following your death. Seeking professional advice is essential; without it, it is possible to overlook a number of issues, which may result in your long-term intentions not being realised. We can help you ensure that your lifetime charitable giving is structured and recorded in the most appropriate way, so you can achieve your philanthropic goals and make the most of all available tax reliefs and exemptions.

Creating a charity

Assets held in a charitable structure (whether that be a trust, charitable incorporated organisation or charitable company) can be used for only charitable purposes; charities enjoy favourable tax benefits as a result.

Creating your own charity can be a rewarding way of fulfilling your philanthropic goals. Whether you wish to set up a charity of your own or create a long-lasting vehicle for dispersing wealth, we will work with you to explore your options. We will help you choose the right structure and trustees, ensure you understand the compliance and administrative responsibilities that come with setting up a charity, and advise on its governance. We can also act as administrators of the charity on your behalf. If you wish for a charity to be established upon your death, we can advise on how best to arrange this.

Our specialist solicitors can help you establish and manage your charitable entity so that it meets all the legal and regulatory requirements. We can also advise on any ongoing issues which may arise in relation to governance, administrative and compliance obligations.

Some examples of how we’ve helped our clients

A charitable request in a Will

Our client had very specific wishes about the charitable requests he was making in his Will. In a letter of wishes, we provided guidance to the nominated trustees in relation to the charitable trust of residue in his Will. We also included a life interest trust for his wife, which will provide financial security for her. At the same time, it will ensure that the bulk of his estate passes to his chosen charities rather than her children, which he wanted to avoid. This matter involved managing complex family dynamics and the client’s wish to maximum charitable tax reliefs.

Administration of a charity

We acted on the administration of a significant estate that left the residue to charity. A charity was created on death and we registered it with the Charity Commission and HMRC. The charity has quite specific objectives and we act for the trustees of the charity, advising on its administration. This includes undertaking the annual compliance; acting as charity correspondent and receiving external appeals for funding; dealing with minutes of the trustee meetings; and coordinating the provision of grants.

Establishing a charitable entity for client with international assets

We advised a client with significant worldwide assets on how to best structure and register a charitable entity to achieve their charitable aims. This included detailed liaison with the Charity Commission. We simultaneously advised on the best form of Will to ensure it dovetailed with their lifetime planning.

Benefitting charity through a large family trust

Our clients were trustees of a large family trust with significant business assets. We advised them on the best way to achieve the settlor’s wishes, which included benefitting charity and the local community. Careful consideration was given to the most appropriate options and we advised the trustees on their duties, managing an unavoidable conflict of interest and ensuring they followed the wishes of the settlor whilst acting within their powers. There were complex tax implications that arose from the trust; our guidance included advice on associated inheritance tax and corporation tax issues.

Creation of a charitable company with safeguarding considerations

We advised on the creation of a charitable company and associated tax advice. Here it was important to secure concurrent capital gains tax and income tax relief on the transfer of a property into the new charity. Our work included advising on a suitable structure for the charity, to take into account a tight timeframe, driven by deadlines relating to the founder’s personal tax situation and drafting the governing document. The charity was created to support young adults living in care and it was only able to be registered following extensive liaising with the Charity Commission regarding safeguarding issues.

Contact a specialist charitable giving and lifetime planning solicitor

For advice on incorporating philanthropy into your lifetime planning, call our expert solicitors on 0800 652 8025 or contact us online. Your initial consultation is free. Our specialist solicitors are based in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton and are ready to discuss your wishes.

Your key contacts

Rebecca Clarke

Senior Associate

Rebecca is an experienced solicitor dealing with all aspects of private client work from capital taxes planning and Court of Protection work, to advising private family charitable trusts to dealing with contested probate cases.
View profile for Rebecca Clarke >

Jacqui Lazare


Bristol, Southampton and London
Jacqui advises private clients on UK-based tax and estate planning, estate administration and philanthropy and also advises charities on a range of issues.
View profile for Jacqui Lazare >

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