Three UK leaders join Legacy10 pledge

Date: Jan 25, 2012

The leaders of the UK's three main political parties have put aside differences to voice their support for a worthy cause.

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband have reportedly put their support behind the Legacy10 initiative, which encouraging members of the public to pledge ten per cent of their estate to charitable causes.

It was developed as a result of ongoing conversations between the UK state secretary for culture, media and sport Jeremy Hunt and former journalist Roland Rudd about the state of philanthropy in the country.

Rudd took it upon himself to develop the Legacy10 initiative in order to promote the idea of considering the less fortunate during estate planning activities.

Since then it has received the support of a number of public figures, including millionaire businessman Sir Richard Branson.

The successful entrepreneur has been outspoken in his support of the scheme, calling it "a terrific initiative" and saying that he supported it "wholeheartedly".

Mainly targeted at high-net-worth individuals like Branson, the program is beginning to develop a wider audience thanks to recent changes in UK law.

These revisions that are due to commence in April make it so that any will that leaves one tenth of the author's assets to charity will receive a reduction in inheritance tax.

While this levy only applies to those individuals with a net worth in excess of £325,000 (approximately AU$482,000 as at January 25), 33 per cent of UK citizens surveyed by Populus said that they would change their wills as a result of the Legacy10 campaign.

Speaking on the added support, Rudd welcomed the increase in pledges from the high-profile party leaders.

Rudd said: "The appeal of Legacy10 is its simplicity. We are asking people to make a contribution to their favourite cultural or charitable cause in their will, the benefit to that cause will be four times bigger than the small loss to the donor.

"I am so pleased that all of our main political leaders have not only chosen to support Legacy10 but have also made a personal commitment to change their wills to make the pledge."

While the ideal behind the initiative is to improve the rate of charitable bequests, in Australia there remains the issue of legislation that may require an estate to provide for any dependants.

To deliver an outcome that is less likely to require court intervention - or to ensure that relatives do not feel the need to dispute a will - it is a good idea to consult with a will and estates lawyer throughout the drafting process.