A mum, dad and child hold hands as they walk along a beach

Veteran benefits public in life and after death

Many people will remember the delightful story last year about war veteran, Bernard Jordan, who “escaped” from his care home in order to travel to France for the D-Day commemorations. The papers were full of photos of Bernard’s beaming face as he returned home to a hero’s welcome.

Bernard has now sadly died and news was released last week that he had left his entire estate, of about £600,000, to the RNLI. Bernard’s wife died shortly after him and it would appear that the couple did not have children.

Bernard’s estate will not have been subject to Inheritance Tax as it was below his and his wife’s combined nil rate bands of £650,000. If, however, the estate had been larger, Bernard’s generous gesture would mean that there would be no tax to pay on his estate as gifts to UK charities are exempt from Inheritance Tax. Indeed if Bernard had shared his estate between the RNLI and relatives then his estate would still benefit from a reduced rate of Inheritance tax of 36% (rather than the usual 40%) as long as he had left at least 10% of his chargeable estate to the RNLI or other charities.

Charities depend on legacy income to carry out their work, with legacy income being worth over £2 billion according to Remember a Charity, so Bernard will continue to carry out public service after his death just as he did during his life as a war veteran and former Mayor.

The RNLI will also be very glad that Bernard made a Will as otherwise his estate will have been divided amongst his closest relatives, or even gone to the Crown if there were no relatives. How much better that the proceeds of a life well lived will go to benefit a cause obviously close to a Royal Navy veteran’s heart.