Death is a subject that many of us want to avoid thinking about, but spending just a short time with your solicitor to sort out your affairs could help avoid misunderstandings and uncertainties for those left behind. It will also mean that you, rather than the Government, will decide what happens to your assets.
Preparing for the future
If you should die without making a will (in legal terms this is called dying intestate), the law will determine how your estate is divided. This can cause great uncertainty and distress for everyone concerned, and can take some time to resolve.
It is worth reviewing your will every time a 'life event' happens, including
- arrival of a child or grandchild
- change in your financial circumstances
- moving abroad
- separation or divorce
- a death in your family
- major changes in the types or rates of taxation
If, however, you make a will, you'll be secure in the knowledge that your loved ones will see your exact wishes being carried out, bringing some comfort during a difficult time.
With professional advice, you can also minimise your tax bill and help a charity by leaving them a tax-free legacy in your will. All charitable donations are taken from the value of your estate before the calculation of inheritance tax (IHT), thereby reducing the IHT liability. IHT is payable on estates worth over £325,000 and is currently set at 40% (reduced to 36% if at least 10% is left to charity).
There are three different types of legacies:
- A pecuniary legacy is a gift of a fixed sum of money. There is no minimum amount that can be left.
- A residuary legacy is a gift of the whole or a share of whatever remains of your estate after all other gifts have been distributed and any debts paid off.
- A specific gift is a tangible item such as a house, piece of jewellery or a work of art.
A solicitor can advise as to the best solution for your circumstances.
Why leave a legacy to MAC?
MAC Birmingham is a registered charity (no.528979) which believes in the value of lifelong learning and participation in the arts, regularly bringing together both aspiring and professional artists to create new work across a wide range of art forms.
Since it opened in 1962, MAC has introduced over 10 million people to the arts, and is now used by over 10% of Birmingham’s population each year. We have a particularly strong reputation for providing a safe and welcoming environment for families, and take great pleasure in seeing the sheer delight and sense of achievement on childrens’ faces as they participate in artistic performances or workshops.
However, providing this costs money, and, as a charity, legacies can form an important source of income for us. Although we enjoy strong relationships with our two key stakeholders – Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England – we still have to raise a large proportion of our income each year. Please help us to ensure we can continue to share the magic of the arts with future generations.
If you have already made a will you can still help mac by adding a codicil (an official alteration) to your will. Again, we would recommend that you seek legal advice before adding a codicil to your will.
Previous bequests have enabled mac birmingham to support talented emerging artists, and even kick-started our building refurbishment, making a lasting difference to millions of people.