Irish charities could benefit from over €112.5 million in additional charitable bequests over the next decade if a VAT exemption was applied to the cost of making a will when a gift to a charity is included in that will. That’s according to research published today by My Legacy, an umbrella group of over 90 Irish charities, to coincide with International Legacy Giving Day.

The research was included in My Legacy’s Budget 2024 Submission, which reports that the current annual value of Irish charitable legacy gifts in wills is €94.7 million. My Legacy believes that significantly more people would include a charitable bequest in their will if they were prompted or incentivised to do so.

Niall O’Sullivan, Chairperson of My Legacy, says the Government has an opportunity to cement its own legacy for Irish charities by introducing measures that would break down current structural barriers to legacy giving.

“We know that currently, €8-10 billion is being transferred annually at probate, with that figure set to explode in the coming years due to our increasing wealth and aging population,” he said. “That aging population will require significant, long-term supports from both the State and from charities.

“By encouraging people to make a will, and to include a charitable gift – large or small – in their will, the Government would enable a sustainable, shockproof future for charities and, as a result, a significant pressure-safety valve for future State expenditure.

“There is currently no prompt or incentive, other than very admirable personal motivations, to include a legacy gift in your will and as such, Ireland lags behind other countries – both in terms of will-making and legacy giving. It is our mission at My Legacy, and at each of our 90 charity members, to make legacy giving the norm in Ireland.

Legacy Giving in Action

As part of My Legacy Month, launched on 1st September by Glenroe star Mary McEvoy, My Legacy and it’s members are calling on people to think what their own legacy might be and to consider including a gift in their will for a charity that means something personal to them.

John O’Brien’s father received palliative care at Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services in Dublin, a member of My Legacy. John has since included a legacy gift for the charity in his will. He says: “The palliative care team who came out to look after my father, and all of us, were two of the warmest people you could ever meet. They looked after him so well and made him comfortable which was such a relief to us.

“Through a legacy gift for Our Lady’s Hospice, I can thank them for the wonderful thing they did for my dad and make it possible for them to help another family in the future. Isn’t it great to be able to do something for a stranger like that? Knowing, as I do, how much that help will mean to someone when they need it in the future.”

What Will Your Legacy Be?