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Charities - Worthy Causes

Charity begins at home for so many of our national and local charities who do so much good in all manner of ways. Without the individual contributions to collection boxes, flag days, raffles, charity auctions, dress down days and the like life would be very different. No hospices, no guide dogs for the blind, no sanctuary for ill or abandoned animals, no research into deadly illnesses, no food or roofs over the heads of the destitute and homeless, and no rescuers for those in danger on the seas.

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Saving 24 lives daily

The RNLI is a favourite charity of mine and I have helped for many years on the committee of the Oswestry branch (interestingly an inland branch), latterly as Chairman in raising funds for this worthy charity responsible for saving at least 24 lives daily in mortal danger on the seas.

As a lawyer who specialises in making Wills I like to remind clients that this is often a great opportunity to remember a favourite charity, or to make a meaningful gesture and leave a legacy which makes a real difference. And even though some will often criticise charities for the costs associated with the administration of running charities, in reality we are talking about a very small percentage in most cases. The percentage for fundraising and administration expenses in relation to the RNLI, for example, is about 10% per annum. And I dare say that the money is more effectively spent compared to your taxes passing through the hands of Mr George Osborne, which brings me to another point. If you have a fair sized estate why not think about a gift to charity to keep your tax bill down?

Reduce effective rate of tax

Inheritance tax broadly speaking is charged on assets over and above £325,000. Gifts to charities are 100% free of tax, and even if an individual does not want to leave their whole estate to charity, in broad terms, if you leave at least 10% of a chargeable estate to charity, you will reduce the effective rate of tax on your estate from 40% to 36%.

It is a point worth remembering, just as it is to remember that it costs approximately £410,000 a day to run the RNLI, and on average to scramble a lifeboat to save a life at sea costs approximately £48,000; a lot of money but bear in mind just one all weather Tamar lifeboat costs £2.7m brand new.