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‘Not Uncommon’ For Hospitals To Benefit In Wills

New Figures Shed Light On the Issue Of People Leaving Funds To Health Services


By Rob Dixon

Leaving charitable gifts to hospitals is not as uncommon as some people may think, according to a legal expert commenting after new figures revealed almost £9 million has been left to Welsh hospitals in the past three years.

New figures provided to BBC Wales under a Freedom of Information request revealed that £8.7 million was left to a range of sites across the country, with the biggest single gift being £630,000 for palliative care in the mid and south Powys area.

Experts have revealed that the money provided to hospitals can be used to fund services which are not covered by budgets provided to the NHS and said such gifts reflected the support that communities show for their local health services.

According to Gillian Coverley, a Partner and expert in wills at Irwin Mitchell, gifts to hospitals from wills are relatively common.

She outlined: “Through our work helping people through the process of writing a will and also advising families through estate administration, we’ve seen numerous instances when the decision has been made to leave charitable gifts to organisations including charities and also hospitals.

“The latter is particularly common when a hospital has a specialism which is close to the heart of those who are putting plans in place for the future.

“It is also worth bearing in mind some changes which came into force in April last year, which mean that the rate of inheritance tax payable on an estate is cut by four per cent when 10 per cent of the estate is left to a registered charity.

“Such a move undoubtedly provides a win-win situation for the families of those who have passed away, as well as the organisations which receive a share of the estate.

“We would urge anyone who is interested in this issue and how they can ensure they make the best decisions regarding their wills to always seek expert advice, which will mean they have a clear idea of the best approach to benefitting loved ones and organisations close to their heart.”

Adam Draper, a will dispute specialist at Irwin Mitchell, added that it is vital people who intend to leave such gifts to charities and hospitals should always discuss the move with their loved ones.

He outlined: “We see a lot of cases related to contesting a will emerge simply as a result of people failing to ensure that their loved ones are aware of their wishes and understand the reasoning behind them.

“Such problems can lead to time-consuming and costly court battles, so we would always urge people to sit down with their family and friends to talk through the decisions they have made and why they have made them.

“That way, people are fully prepared of what to expect when their loved one passes away.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in relation to Wills