Information for Solicitors

Information for Solicitors

Over 5,000 people each year leave gifts in their Wills to support the work of the Church of England, but the Church of England itself is not a single legal entity and has a complex structure.

The information provided should answer all of your questions. If not, please contact Eleanor Gill for further guidance or click here to request a free Solicitors Guide to Legacies and the Church of England booklet.

 

Your local churchA Charitable Gift to a Local Parish Church

Most clients who wish to leave a gift to the Church of England, will want to leave their gift to the work of their local parish church.

The proper receiving body in this instance is the Parochial Church Council (PCC) of the parish.

PCCs are the governing bodies of parish churches and a PCC is a body corporate under the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956 (as amended).

Click here to view Will Clause Wording for a Gift to your Local Parish Church

 

Support your CathedralA Charitable Gift to a Cathedral

Some clients may wish to leave a gift to their local Cathedral. Through their presence, worship and varied work, they reach out to their local and wider communities in many ways.

Cathedrals can have more than one recipient body for legacies (e.g. gift to the Cathedral, to the Music Foundation or to the Friends Society) so please check the Cathedral's website for further details and speak with their Legacy Officer.

Click here to view a full list of Cathedrals and contact details

Click here to view Will Clause Wording for a Gift to your Cathedral

 

FlagsA Charitable Gift to a Diocese

Some clients may wish to leave a gift to their Diocese. The Church of England is divided into 40 dioceses (regional church bodies), each of which has a Diocesan Board of Finance (DBF), and a Diocesan Bishop.

The DBFs are legal entities (registered charities and companies) and have their own Registered Charity Number.

Click here to view a full list of the Diocese Charity Name and Charity Number

Click here to view Will Clause Wording for a Gift to your Diocese

 

Archbishops of York and CanterburyA Charitable Gift to the National Church

CofE ArchbishopsA client may wish to leave a gift to the National Church and there are a number of different bodies an individual can leave a gift to:

The Archbishops’ Council, The Church and Community Fund or the Church of England Pensions Board. For further information on these different receiving bodies please click here.

 

What's your legacy?Charitable Gifts for Multiple Recipients

The Church Legacy Service may be of interest to clients who wish to leave gifts to a number of these other charitable bodies.

For further information please visit the Church of England's Church Legacy Service page.

 

Gifts in Wills for General Purposes

Your legacy can support the church in so many waysSince circumstances change over the years, church members are encouraged to leave gifts in their Wills for the general purposes of the parish.

The PCC will therefore discuss with executors the most appropriate use of the gift in light of current projects and the donor’s known areas of interest in the church (e.g. children, youth, the building, music ) etc.

If a donor wishes to restrict their gift, for example ‘to repair the church tower’, it cannot be used for any other purpose. It is most helpful if the restriction is kept reasonably open, for example ‘for general maintenance of the building.’

Alternatively a compromise can be achieved by a general legacy in their Will and a letter of wishes alongside the Will. This should be addressed in the Will to provide certainty of intention.

 

St Mary's and St Mary'sSt Mary's and St Mary's

There are several hundred churches called St Mary’s and parish names and boundaries do change over time. Please ensure you have the full information which will help to ensure that the intended parish is identifiable as the beneficiary, when the time comes.

A Church Near You lists every church in the Church of England with accurate maps, contact information and much more. It is advisable that you contact the church directly to confirm the correct legal name of the Parish

Please Click Here to visit the Church of England's A Church Near You website.

 


Charitable Status & other FAQs

  • The Church of England is itself not a single legal entity and has a complex structure.
     
  • All 16,000 of its churches are excepted from registration with the Charity Commission apart from those whose annual income exceeds £100,000; they will be registered with the Charity Commission and have individual Charity Numbers.
     
  • All Church of England Churches have charitable status even if they do not have a Registered Charity Number.
     
  • If you are unsure whether the church does or does not have a charity number, please contact the Church of England's National Legacy Officer, Eleanor Gill who can follow up the enquiry on your behalf (Eleanor.Gill@churchofengland.org, 08445 870875, Church House, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3AZ).
     
  • Only churches whose annual income exceeds £100,000 will be registered with the Charity Commission and have individual Charity Numbers.
     
  • All legacy gifts left to the Church of England are exempt from inheritance tax.
     
  • A legacy gift can be left to the Church of England for any purpose or general purposes.

 

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