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Leaving a legacy: how to put your money to good use

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From planting trees and rescuing animals to reducing unsafe housing and supporting families, we’ve rounded up five charities that play an important role in protecting each other and the future.

In the UK, only 19% of people leave a charitable donation in their Will (according to independent research firm OKO). Despite many people having the intention, it can often be difficult to know how to go about leaving your savings to a good cause. If you’re struggling to figure out where to start, worry not.  Here’s five charities that represent different, but equally important causes.

Health

For more than 60 years, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has pioneered life-saving research and campaigns. Charitable gifts in Wills account for more than half of the charity’s total income. Legacies not only support innovative research, but also help to provide vital support for the millions of people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK, keeping treatment centres and specialised services running. bhf.org

Animals

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is one of the most popular charities to donate to in the UK. Leaving money to the RSPCA will help to fund animal rescuing, rehabilitation and rehoming, while protecting vulnerable animals for generations to come. The RSPCA receives a call for help every 30 seconds and donations are always needed to ensure its helpline remains open. As well as funding work in the UK, gifts in Wills can also support the RSPCA’s overseas fund. This helps rescue animals abroad, promoting better welfare standards. rspca.org.uk

Read more: City pups: Three best laidback dog breeds for those who live in the city
RSPCA
RSPCA

Environment

If you care for the environment, The Woodland Trust is a perfect choice. The charity plants new woodlands in the UK while protecting existing trees and ancient habitats. Nearly one in four of the millions of trees the Trust plants are directly funded by legacies. You can even leave a gift in your Will for your favourite wild habitat or wood or leave your own land or forests to the Trust to be cared for after you’ve gone. No matter the size of the gift, everyone who supports the Trust is acknowledged in remembrance books displayed in the charity’s central office. woodlandtrust.org.uk

Read more: Five of the best money apps to download in 2023
trees
Katt Yukawa, Unsplash

Homelessness

Homelessness is an issue that saddens everyone, but if you’re particularly affected by it, Shelter is the charity for you. Since its inception almost six decades ago, Shelter has been instrumental in the fight against housing injustice and rogue landlords as well as supporting rough sleepers. Legacies help drive Shelter’s campaigns for rent reforms and renters’ rights, protecting tenants from exploitation and unsafe housing. With an estimated 17.5 million people across the UK now living in the grip of a housing emergency, Shelter’s work is needed now more than ever. shelter.org.uk

At-risk children

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has worked to keep children safe since 1884. A legacy of just £100 could pay for a trained practitioner to support families for up to four hours. A gift of £5,000 could pay for 1,000 calls to be answered on the NSPCC helpline. Legacies also directly fund the NSPCC’s Speak Out, Stay Safe programme, which has reached over 33,300 primary school children, teaching them to recognise abuse and that they always have a right to feel safe. nspcc.org.uk

Words: Kerry Ryan

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