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Charles Russell Speechlys team speaks at a seminar on major charitable giving and legacies co-hosted by Cancer Research UK

11 March 2015

On 5 February 2015, Sally Ashford, Legal Director in Charles Russell Speechlys’ Private Client team, and Catherine Beringer, Associate in our Charities & Not-for-Profit team, spoke at a breakfast seminar about the importance of major charitable giving and legacies for Cancer Research UK and other charitable organisations.

Legacies and major gifts fund over a third of Cancer Research UK’s research – a charity which receives no government funding and relies entirely on donations from the public.

Hosted by Robert Christenson MBE, Chair of the Jersey Cancer Research UK fundraising committee, the seminar drew over 150 delegates from the local STEP branch.

Beyond the vital role gifts in Wills and major gifts play in supporting good causes, Sally spoke about several other key benefits of philanthropic giving.

In Sally’s experience many families find that philanthropy strengthens family ties by setting out a clear set of shared family values.

Families also find that they are able to maximise the impact of their giving by pooling their resources and thinking strategically about the types of charitable cause they choose to give to.

Sally also highlighted the considerable tax benefits of leaving a charity like Cancer Research UK a major gift in your Will.

In the UK, an estate valued over £325,000 will have Inheritance Tax deducted at a rate of 40% of any amount above the £325,000 threshold (or £650,000 if there is a transferable Nil rate band from another estate).

However, if you leave a gift to charity this may lower the Inheritance Tax payable on your estate. If you leave a gift to charity in your Will that comprises of 10% or more of your estate, the overall Inheritance Tax payable could in some instances be reduced from 40% to 36%.

Speaking on behalf of Cancer Research UK, Sianne Kerrane spoke about a new philanthropy club called The Visionaries being launched to for supporters leaving significant gifts in their Wills by investing in Cancer Research UK.

The Visionaries will be offered the chance to engage with cancer research in their lifetime through visiting laboratories, meetings with senior scientists and bespoke updates on areas of research tailored to the interests of each supporter.

Sianne said: 

This is really exciting for us at Cancer Research UK. We’ll be giving Visionaries the chance to see at first hand the progress we’re making in the fight against cancer. It’s fantastic to be able to thank our generous and forward thinking supporters in a very personal way – they really are saving lives.”

Delegates were moved by the inspiring story of Alison Howe, a Cancer Research UK Visionary and cancer survivor, who spoke about her decision to leave a gift in her Will to Cancer Research UK:

I wanted any legacy that I left to make a lasting, positive difference – now and into the future.

After much consideration I decided that the focus of my legacy should be on cancer as it touches so many people – whether personally, or through their loved ones.

"Supporting innovative research in this field is an important priority if we are going to increase the number of patients who survive cancer.

"In this way my legacy would help advance cancer research and help patients to overcome their disease, and to improve their chances of maintaining a fulfilling life. 

"I’m actually excited about my decision to leave a legacy gift to Cancer Research UK. It has been an enlightening and empowering experience.”

Joining The Visionaries is a chance to make your mark and leave an amazing legacy for future generations.

Please contact sally.ashford@crsblaw.com or sianne.kerrane@cancer.org.uk at Cancer Research UK to find out more.