Everything comes from you, O Lord, and of your own have we given you.
1 Chronicles 29:4

For nearly five hundred years the Church of England has encouraged its members to keep their wills up to date. The Book of Common Prayer reminds people to ‘settle their estates whilst they are in good health’. Yet research shows that over half the UK adult population have not yet written a will. If you die without a will, the courts decide what will happen to your assets and your family, friends or favourite charity may lose out. 

Many of those who do make a will are happy to leave something to their parish church. Every year PCCs across the country receive around £45 million from legacy giving – an average of £3,000 per parish each year. These legacies make a huge difference to many churches’ mission and ministry.

There is also a spiritual side to leaving something to the church. We are reminded that everything we have in this life has been given to us by God, so we may wish to give something back.

What should the PCC do about Legacies?

Your church PCC needs to agree a policy on how legacy income will be spent. Many people will gladly leave a gift in their will if they know the money will be used for a mission project, or to improve the building or facilities, but would be less keen for their gift being used just to fund everyday running costs.

You should also consider how you can promote will-making and legacy giving to the parish. This can be done in a sensitive and low key way, over the long term, with messages tailored to meet the particular needs of different groups – young families, empty nesters or the elderly, for example.

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