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Nearly 70% of the public give money to a charity during their lifetime but just over 4% leave a donation to a charity in their will. Yet it's a very easy way to give and show commitment to a cause. Here are some frequently asked questions regarding leaving a legacy to a charity.

How a legacy helped the St. Thomas' Lupus Trust

The charity was formed on the basis of an unexpected legacy left in a will by a patient.

Which is the largest legacy ever left to charity?

Christina Foyle, the proprietor of Foyles London bookshop, left £59m in her will when she died in 1999.

What can you leave in a legacy?

Your estate: everything you own, including property, cash, shares, jewellery, works of art, life insurance and pension payouts.

Residual gift: what is left from your estate after all other bequests, costs and so on, have been deducted.

Pecuniary gift: This is a stated amount of money which you choose to leave to a named person, charity or other organisation. The effect of inflation will reduce the value of these gifts over the years, so remember to revise them from time to time, according to your wishes.

A percentage of your estate: a gift of a percentage of the value of your estate. For example, a bequest of 5% of an estate valued at £40,000, would provide a gift of £2,000.

Company pensions: if you belong to a company pension scheme, you can complete an "expression of wish" form to benefit a charity of your choice. In the event of your death, the stated proportion of the life insurance benefit will be paid to your chosen charities.

Rest assured, whatever you wish to leave will be gratefully received and will make a real difference to the future work of the St. Thomas' Lupus Trust.

How do you make a will?

By making a will you can ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death. There is no restriction on the age when you can make a will. No one is too young or too old to do so. Usually through a solicitor, however there are books that guide you through the process. Solicitors charge from £50 - £100 depending on the complexity of your arrangements. Explain that you want to include a charity or charities - your adviser should be happy to help with this.

If you would like to leave a legacy towards the Lupus Trust in your will, you simply need to inform your solicitor that the donation is to the Lupus Trust and the following information about us: Under auspices of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity. Registered charity no. 251983, fund 504 - which identifies it as a donation specifically to the Lupus Trust fund.

Remember: If you have no living relatives and don't leave a Will, everything you own may pass to the state.

Do you need to let us know?

Wills are private, and you may not want anyone to know what's in yours. However, if you're happy to tell us that we have been named in your will we'll be delighted to hear you're supporting our future work, and it doesn't by any means place you under any obligation. Anything you say will be treated in strictest confidence.

How do you change your will?

You can change your will by making a codicil - this is an instruction that is drawn up by a solicitor and will be kept with your existing will.

Is it tax efficient?

Charitable donations in a will are exempt from inheritance tax and capital gains tax.

"The future depends on what we do in the present" - Mahatma Gandhi