Last Will and Testament (/Shutterstock)

Bequests: Your effective legacy

You do not have Javascript enabled. Some elements of this website may not work correctly.

Bequests, Gifts in Wills, or Planned Giving

Leaving money in your estate is a wonderful way to maintain giving as part of your legacy.

We are regularly contacted by people who would like to leave money to effective charities after they die. This is normally called a bequest, but also known as planned giving, or gifts in wills.

Depending on your circumstances, a bequest may also provide you with beneficial inheritance tax treatment. Please have a read of this post on the potential to quadruple your charitable donations at almost no cost to your beneficiaries for further information.

Giving What We Can can help fulfil your wishes to give, either as the direct beneficiary of a bequest, or by disbursing money amongst highly effective organisation based on your preferences.

Leaving money to Giving What We Can

Giving What We Can is a part of the Centre for Effective Altruism, a registered charity in the UK and a registered 501(c)(3) exempt organization in the US. If you would like to leave money to support the activities of Giving What We Can, please make your bequest out to the Centre for Effective Altruism. You can specify that the donation should be restricted to Giving What We Can.

Leaving money to other highly effective organisations

If you would like to leave money in support of highly effective organisations, please make your bequest out to the Centre for Effective Altruism (Registered Charity Number 1149828). Please specify whether you would like to:

  • restrict your donation to one or more of the charities or funds charities listed on our donation platform (be sure to set out the proportion of your donation that each should receive)*;or
  • allow Giving What We Can to disburse the money to whichever charitable organisation or organisations it deems would be most effective at the time of the bequest.

* It may be the case that in the future the Centre for Effective Altruism can no longer disburse money to all of the organisations currently supported. Therefore, if you specify particular organisations to receive your donation, we highly recommend that you also set out alternative arrangements in case this ceases to be possible.

Suggested wording for bequests via The Centre For Effective Altruism

We recommend you consult with a legal professional when writing your will, the suggested wording below can help as a guide.

For donors in the United Kingdom:

I bequeath {X% or the sum of £X} to the Centre for Effective Altruism, a registered charity in England and Wales with charity number 1149828 and place of business at Trajan House, Mill Street, Oxford OX2 0DJ, or its successor organisation. Please contact info@centreforeffectivealtruism.org in order to process this request.

For donors in the United States:

I bequeath {X% or the sum of $X} to the Centre for Effective Altruism, a registered 501(c)(3) Exempt Organization in the USA (EIN 47-1988398) or its successor organisation. Please contact info@centreforeffectivealtruism.org in order to process this request.

Add the following to allocate the bequest to a specific cause or charity:

These funds should be allocated to the option listed as '{fund or charity name/s}' at the time of writing, which serves the purpose of.. {description of charities/funds eg: 'supporting highly effective work in field of global health and development'}.

Add the following to allocate the bequest to fund Giving What We Can's operations:

These funds should be allocated to support Giving What We Can's operations.

General advice regarding bequests

There are a number of considerations to take into account when you leave money to a charity in your will. Giving What We Can is not in a position to provide legal advice. However we strongly recommend that you do seek legal advice on the matter, thoroughly research whether a bequest will have broader implications for your will, talk to your loved ones about your intentions, and find out how to write your will so as to ensure your Executor can honour your wishes.

Resources — United Kingdom

The following resources may be useful if you are in the United Kingdom and are preparing a Will that includes a bequest to Giving What We Can or our Top Charities. However they are provided by third parties, and Giving What We Can cannot take any responsibility for their accuracy. We recommend that you seek advice from someone legally qualified to provide it.