Business leaders Sir Richard Branson and Charles Dunstone and investment banker Jacob Rothschild have committed to give 10% of their estates to charity via their wills as part of the Legacy10 campaign which is launched today.
The campaign was set up to encourage people to make the most of the inheritance tax breaks announced by the government in the last Budget. From April 2012, anyone who leaves at least 10% of their wealth to charity will have their inheritance tax bill reduced from 40% to 36%.
As such it is targeting the 3% of individuals who die each year and are Inheritance Tax payers
However, a Populus poll of over 2,000 people across the UK, commissioned by Legacy10, has found that over 80% were unaware of the impending changes to IHT, but that over 70% would now either make a legacy or consider doing so. One of the aims of Legacy10 will be to encourage that 70% to make a pledge: although 74% of Britons support a charity in their lifetime, only 7% of the UK population leave a gift to charity in their will.
Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, said: "Anyone who leaves 10% of their estate to charity can reduce their inheritance tax bill by 10% from 6 April 2012.
"But legacy giving isn't just for business billiionaires. If we all left just a small amount to our favourite charities in our Will, we could make a big difference."
Peter Lewis, Chief Executive of the Institute of Fundraising, welcomed the campaign, saying: "This campaign incentivises those who are likely to have to pay IHT when they pass away to leave a legacy. Legacy10 raises the profile of legacy giving and ensures that many people will become aware of the option of leaving a charitable gift in their will. Making a generous, final gift to a favourite good cause can help you to leave the world a better place."
The Legacy10 campaign has been established by Roland Rudd, the founder of the financial communications company Finsbury. He said: "“The goal of Legacy10 is to encourage a change in the way we in the UK regard legacy giving, and make it the norm for people to leave at least 10% of their wealth to good causes."
It is in the process of registering as a charity with the purpose of encouraging legacy giving in the UK. It will not, however, collect or distribute funds.
Figures compiled by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) show that the amount of legacy income reported by the 11,000 biggest charities in their most recent annual returns is £2.1 billion. This is a real terms increase of 3% on September 2010 but represents just 13.49% of all voluntary income received by these charities. There are over 11,000 charities in England and Wales with an annual income of over £500,000 which report their legacy income in their annual returns to the Charity Commission.