Covid-19 impact on charities and wills: Your questions answered

Covid-19 impact on charities and wills: Your questions answered

Natalie Hall is an Associate in the Private Client Department of Axiom Stone Solicitors, a full-service legal practice with offices Edgware, Mayfair and Harrow in London and Birmingham.

In this special column, the legal expert answers some key questions arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

1. How have charities been affected by Covid-19?

Due to ongoing restrictions many charities were unable to continue their traditional fundraising methods, charity retail outlets and were forced to close and many events were cancelled. They have had to change the way they market and advertise.

2. What effect has Covid-19 had on the charity sector?

Whilst many charities lost a significant amount of revenue through their traditional fundraising revenues, it has been widely reported that legacy gifting to charities in wills had increased by 56% in the past 12 months. It has been predicted by fundraising experts that charity giving in wills is likely to increase over the next few years.

3. How have people been able to instruct on in Wills during lockdown?

The traditional route of seeing a solicitor to prepare a will has also changed. However, last year the Government relaxed the rules on the requirement for wills to be witnessed in the testator’s presence. Now, wills can be witnessed by video conferencing where physical witnessing is not possible enabling solicitors to conduct the entire Will process via platforms such as Zoom, WhatsApp and Facetime. This has enabled some of those most vulnerable in society, such as those who have been shielding, to still instruct, even if virtually.

4. How have people been able to gift charities in Wills?

As well as being able to meet virtually with solicitors, many charities have advertised highlighting legacies to charities in wills. Some 12 per cent of all current wills were made using a charity scheme. By charities increasing their advertising on TV and social media, they have been able to refer people to list pre-approved solicitors in their local area, where they can rest assured their Wills are professionally prepared.

Whilst most clients believe they need ‘a simple will’, it is imperative that it is prepared for their individual needs with the legal and technical points pointed out to them.

At Axiom Stone we support charitable gifting in wills and are on a number of charities panels for approved solicitors. If you wish to leave money or gift to a charity of your choice, I would be happy to discuss and help you with the process.

by Natalie Hall

Natalie Hall is an Associate in the Private Client Department at Axiom Stone.

*Info: For questions on this article or any further queries, please feel free to contact Natalie: NH@axiomstone.co.uk

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