The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) has drafted a model clause for wills in response to government plans to reduce inheritance tax for charity donors.
The organisation hopes this template, if approved, will make it easier for wealthy individuals to leave a legacy which qualifies under the reforms, encouraging greater take-up of the proposals.
Policy and communications executive Scott Devine said: "The revenue said the success or not of this measure will rely on private client advisers telling their client this is available and the use of model clauses. We're hoping to help on both of those scores."
In 2011's Budget, George Osborne said the inheritance tax rate would be cut from 40% to 36%, for individuals who leave at least a tenth of their estate to charities and the arts, as part of a program he described as the "most radical reforms to charitable giving for more than 20 years".
STEP worked with HMRC during the consultation period for the anticipated legislation, and is waiting for a response to their latest efforts.
Devine revealed: "We've now approached the Revenue [to see] if it is prepared to endorse the clause. It's gone to its legal team for the first stage of approval to see whether it can work in its current form. If it gets beyond that, there's a possibility it could end up in an annex in the legislation, if it gets by the parliamentary council. It could be incorporated into the legislation or just perhaps guidance, but it's unclear at this stage."
According to 2011 research from Standard Life, almost three quarters of survey respondents did not intend to leave charitable donations in their will.
Their head of technical insight, Julie Hutchison said: "It's good to see STEP offering this clause up, it isn't the kind of thing you want to do in a DIY will. It's very much the type of thing people will need expert advice on."
However, these reforms may not open the floodgates for people who do not give charitable contributions. Hutchison warned it was "only likely to be an incentive to those wealthy enough to find this triggers a change in types of behaviour. What the charities are going to find far more beneficial is the type of donors they've always had, who leave half their estate or a significant proportion of their estate to charities."
The new inheritance tax rate will come into effect on 6 April 2012. STEP's clause will be reviewed when the final wording of the legislation is made available.
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