ISSUE 9, April 2004

The Duke of Wellington: A Brother in arms
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Life with the Stars: Masons and famous people
Hall Stone Jewel: Cyril Spackman, designer
Travel: Jamaica
Grand Charity: Annual Report and Accounts
Masonic stamps: Masonry on stamps
Library & Museum of Freemasonry: Antients and Moderns go on-line
Masonic education: Events for Freemasons
Masonic charities: The continuing work
Bowel cancer: How the Grand Charity is helping
Royal Arch: Russia and Eastern Europe
Richard Eve: A former Grand Treasurer
Book reviews

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Masonic Charities

Legacy promotion campaign

Making a Will is essential, and it is possible to leave some of the estate to one of the four Masonic charities.

© Getty Images

      “Friends, Romans, Countrymen…”
In the famous Shakespearean quote, Mark Anthony goes on to say:
      “The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interred with their bones”. Despite being written over 400 years ago, it seems that the meaning remains as true today.

Research shows that over 70% of the UK population regularly give generous donations to charity during their lifetime. Yet less than 15% include a charitable gift in their Will in order to support the work of the same charities after their death.
      Income received via legacies provides vital support for all UK charities. A high profile Legacy Promotion Campaign, launched in October 2002, aims to increase the proportion of Wills that include a donation to charity from 14% to 16%. If successful it is estimated that this would generate an extra £180 million per year for the voluntary sector at large.
      At a time when, in the UK, all charities continue to look to maximise their income, it is inevitable that increased effort will be spent on trying to encourage individuals to include a charitable donation.
      You may well have already received a variety of printed material from one or more charities delivered through your door. Much of this may have contained legalistic jargon which has confused rather than helped. It is hoped that the information detailed below will provide enough information to enable you to understand how straightforward the process can be.

Making a Will is straightforward. It doesn’t take long and need not be expensive. Without a Will ‘the courts’ will decide what happens to everything you own or have worked for. The resulting decisions may not be in keeping with your personal wishes, and are likely to see a greater proportion going to the Inland Revenue rather than to family, friends and your favourite charities.

How much?
You do not need to be rich to need a Will. If you allow yourself some time to take stock of everything that you own, you are very likely to be surprised by the result. The Inland Revenue will require payment of inheritance tax at 40% for everything over a fixed amount (currently £255,000).
      Gifts to Charity made by Will are exempt from inheritance tax, thus avoiding a 40% payment, as are gifts by a husband or wife to his or her spouse. All other beneficiaries will be liable for inheritance tax if the value of your estate exceeds the tax threshold.
      You do not need to be rich to leave a charitable donation in your Will. Bequests of all sizes are equally welcome. Over the last three years, charitable bequests left to the four Craft Charities have varied in size from £52 to £179,000. They have been received with equal gratitude and have been faithfully applied in support of those who are less fortunate.