A lawyer’s perspective on legacy giving

Stuart Thorne, former SCF trustee and local private client lawyer, explains how SCF offers unique benefits to clients considering a legacy.

As a private client solicitor specialising in wills and succession issues, I have found the Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) to be an extremely popular and convenient way for clients to provide charitable support to their communities. 

The careful and skilful analysis of deserving groups and causes, with the assurance that the money reaches its targets cost effectively, appeals greatly to many clients, both at a modest level (maybe with a small legacy) but also for more substantial bequests to set up an endowment fund for a particular region or purpose within Somerset.

The reduction of the Inheritance Tax rate from 40% to 36%, when 10% of the taxable balance of an estate goes to charity, has been a popular way for extra funds to be channelled to charity after a bereavement. 

We recently administered an estate where the excess above the tax threshold was £300,000.00 which had been left to an elderly friend.  She, with our advice, diverted her inheritance by way of Deed of Variation so that £30,000.00 went between six charities, including SCF, and the balance passed to her own beneficiaries.  The Inheritance Tax bill was reduced from £120,000 to £108,000 as a result.

We have found that SCF can be a terrific way for us to help clients leave a very personal and tailored legacy without the burden and cost of creating a separate charitable trust or feeling restricted to just one charity.


Stuart Thorne

Clarke Willmott (stuart.thorne@clarkewillmott.com)

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