Most animal rescues and charities can only afford to keep running because of people who provide for them in their will. If you want to keep protecting and saving animals from suffering after your death, leave a gift in your will to animal charities.
You can leave money, property, stocks and shares, vehicles, and other belongings.
There are tax benefits to leaving a legacy, as legacies are exempt from inheritance tax.
Any Amount Is Needed
Even if you only have a little to leave to animal charities, any amount is gratefully received. Animal charities do not receive any Government funding, nor do they usually receive any money from the National Lottery. Without legacies willed to them, animal charities cannot survive.
Your Will Can Be Challenged
Be aware that in some countries, family members – even estranged ones – can challenge your will after your death. Read on to find out more.
Image: Bequest a legacy to an animal charity. Source
Warning: Family Can Challenge Your Will
In a recent court case, a lady had left all her money to animal charities, but her estranged daughter challenged the will. The lady had not had a relationship with her daughter for many decades. The daughter argued that she had not been adequately provided for. The lady had made it very clear in her will that she did not want her daughter to have any of the money. She explicitly instructed the executors of her will to fight any claim her estranged daughter might make after her death.
In a Nutshell:
The daughter won £50,000, but was not happy with that, so challenged the will again and won half of the nearly half a million. The animal charities challenged the ruling and the amount to be awarded to the estranged daughter was reduced back to £50,000.
Sadly, the fight for the money will have eaten in to the amount willed considerably.
This serves as a warning to make sure you talk to your solicitor about how to avoid such a situation, and how to fight it if it happens.
Image: Heather Ilott has been embroiled in a decade-long battle with animal charities about the proceeds of her mother’s will. Source
- 2002: Melita Jackson makes her last will with a letter explaining she had disinherited her only daughter after she walked out of the family home in 1978 to live with her boyfriend.
- 2004: Mrs Jackson dies, aged 70.
- 2007: Heather Ilott challenges the will under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act. She is awarded £50,000 on the basis she had been “unreasonably” excluded. When she applies for a larger share of the money, a High Court judge reverses the decision to award it to her in the first place.
- 2011: The Court of Appeal rules Mrs Ilott is entitled to a share of the money after all.
- 2014: Mrs Ilott loses a battle to get a larger share of the money at the High Court.
- 2015: The decision was successfully challenged at the Court of Appeal and Mrs Ilott is awarded £164,000.
- 2017: Three animal charities set to benefit from the majority of Mrs Jackson’s estate win a Supreme Court challenge. This results in Mrs Ilott’s sum being reduced to the original £50,000.
Go To A Reputable Solicitor or Official Will Writer
It is strongly advised to go to a qualified and reputable solicitor or will writer to help you with your will. If you do not have a legally binding will when you die, the law will decide what happens to your estate. If that happens, it is certain that animal rescues and charities will get nothing.
Don’t Leave It Too Late
None of us know when we will die, so being prepared could mean the difference between you being able to help animals after your death, or not. It is not enough to just tell your family and friends of your intention to leave a gift to animal rescues and charities after you are gone.
If You Have An Existing Will…
If you already have a will, your solicitior can assist you in adding a codicil (a short amendment). This mentions the type of gift and the name of the animal charities that you would like to benefit from it.
Details You Will Need
To include animal rescues and charities in your will, you will need to know the full name and charity number of the organisations. You can either find this on their website, or by searching the Charity Commission website.
For further information on the legal terms used around legacies and wills, visit the Remember A Charity website.
Free Will Writing With Animal Charities
Certain animal charities offer a free professional will making service. It costs them hundreds of pounds to offer this service, so they hope you will leave them a gift in your will. It is an easy way to make sure your wishes are carried out after your death. If you are like me, you will want to make sure that you continue to help animals after you die.
Here are two animal charities I know of that offer free will writing service through The Goodwill Partnership:
The RSPCA are a UK animal welfare charity whose officers investigate cruelty and can prosecute. They campaign for changes in the law to improve the welfare of animals on farms, in labs, in the wild, in paddocks or our homes. They also rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome animals, wherever possible.
You can make a will free through the RSPCA, here.
Viva fights for the rights of all animals to not live in fear and pain. The charity aims to stop animal cruelty and exploitation, and make the future better for them. It does this through educating, campaigning, investigating, exposing, and providing resources.
Make a will for free through Viva, here.
Tax Benefits Of Leaving A Legacy
Legacies left to charity are exempt from inheritance tax, which is set at 40% at the time of writing this. If your estate value is over the exempt threshold, it may help reduce the amount of tax that needs to be paid on it. The money would otherwise go to the Government as tax.
In April 2012, a reduced rate of inheritance tax of 36 per cent was introduced for estates leaving 10 per cent or more to charity.
Up to date information on current inheritance tax rates and thresholds can be found here.
Image: Carry on helping animals after your death. Source
Asking For Legacies For Your Animal Charity
If you know of any animal rescues or charities who are not currently promoting the idea of supporters leaving legacies, you can direct them to this website. It has a wealth of information about legacies, and how to promote legacy giving.
How To Effectively Spread Awareness Of Animal Rights
Do you want to make the world a kinder place by helping stop terrified animals being put through horrific cruelty? By helping to change peoples habits by raising awareness, you can do that.
Spreading the animal rights message can be very emotionally draining and distressing. Have a look on this page to find out how to be an effective advocate for animals, whilst making sure you keep your mind healthy and happy. You can find more ways to spread awareness here.
Other Ways To Help Stop Animal Suffering
On this site there are many varied ways you can help animals and help stop cruelty. In fact, there are so many different ways that there is something for every personality type, no matter what their circumstances.
If you would like to learn more about why we so urgently need to help stop animal suffering, please see this website. It will allow you to broaden your knowledge of many different types of world wide animal abuse, giving you the ability to help animals by spreading awareness and answering questions people may have. Please be aware that you may find the information distressing.
One great way to help animals is to share the information you have seen on this website. Doing so means more people could help stop animal cruelty, and that would make you responsible for more animals being saved from suffering. Together we can help people help animals <3
Have Your Say In The Comments Section
Do you know of any information we have missed, or do you have any information to add to this page? Please leave a comment to let everyone know about it.