elderly couple

Gifts in wills: How do you get the conversation started?

As a professional adviser, you know that giving your clients all the information they need to make informed decisions is essential – and that includes making them aware of the option to leave a charitable gift in their will. But how do you get the conversation started?

One of the most prominent reasons people give for not leaving a gift is that they simply didn’t think of it at the time, showing just how important it is for these conversations to be had. We also know that the majority of the public would be happy for their will-writer to mention the charitable option.

Ahead of Remember A Charity Week, the UK’s annual awareness week that celebrates this special form of giving, why not explore some of the following simple yet effective ways of introducing the topic of charitable gifts to clients – ensuring you’re ready to take full advantage of the Week.

Include in any client questionnaires

A quick and easy way to ensure every client is aware of their ability to leave a gift in their will is to include a prompt in any client questionnaire – ideally one which also offers the opportunity to access more information and discuss in more detail.

This way clients are already familiar with the concept of leaving a gift, and it won’t come as a surprise when you broach the topic further down the line. This also means that they have extra time to discuss with friends and family, and give some thought to the charities they would like to support.

Reminding clients they’re not alone – many people choose to support a favourite charity in this way

Leaving a legacy is both a rational and emotional decision, so phrasing that lets clients know that they are not alone – that other clients give in this way too – can be both comforting and inspiring for people who wish to leave a gift in their Will.

A consumer poll of 2,000 UK adults reveals that over one in five people (21%) are now more likely to support charitable causes during their lifetime, and almost a fifth (19%) want to leave the world a better place, compared to pre-covid times.

With one in four professionally written wills now including a charitable gift, up from 16% in 2014, it is clear that there is a very real and growing appetite for this form of giving.

Why not try this way of introducing the topic: “Many of our clients like to leave money to charity in their will. Are there any causes you’re passionate about?”.

Funeral planning and flowers

Most clients will already be expecting to have a conversation about funeral considerations as part of their will-writing process. It is also not unusual for those who have a connection or fondness for a charity to note a request for a donation in lieu of flowers as part of those plans.

This conversation can often provide a natural opportunity to ask clients whether they have also considered other ways of supporting the causes close to their heart – for example a gift in their will.

In doing so, you’re also actively demonstrating your understanding of what is important to them, and commitment to ensuring their will is an accurate reflection of their wishes.

Inheritance tax as a conversation starter

Where a client has a taxable estate, an easy way to bring up the topic is to mention how leaving money to charity can be a way of reducing how much of your client’s estate ends up with HMRC.

Not only will any portion left to charity not count towards the total taxable value of their estate, but if at least 10% of a net estate is left to charity your client benefits from an inheritance tax discount from 40% to 36%.

Access more support and resources by becoming a Campaign Supporter

At Remember A Charity, we work with legal professionals to provide you with the resources you need to initiate conversations about gifts in wills – helping you to support your clients to make a lasting impact, and ensure their values and philanthropic aspirations are honoured beyond their lifetime.

By becoming a Campaign Supporter, you’ll have access to exclusive marketing and informational materials to promote the importance of having an up to date will, as well as the charitable option.

The scheme is free to join and, in return, all we ask is that you commit to always highlighting the option to leave a gift to charity to your will-writing clients, once family and friends are taken care of.

Read more stories

Join over 6,000 wills and probate practitioners – Check back daily for all the latest news, views, insights and best practice and sign up to our e-newsletter to receive our weekly round up every Friday morning. 

You’ll receive the latest updates, analysis, and best practice straight to your inbox.