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Charitable bequests

The requirements on reporting charitable bequests to the Charities Regulator.

The Charities Regulator examines information relating to charitable bequests received from the Probate Office, which has a statutory mandate to supply the Charities Regulator with a report of all charitable bequests to charities in Ireland. Bequests to overseas charities with no activities in Ireland are not within the remit of the legislation and executors/legal personal representatives (“LPRs”) are not required to include these on the charitable bequest form.

One will, one form

LPRs or solicitors acting on their behalf are required to complete a single online form entitled the ‘Charitable Bequest Form’ noting all charitable bequests in a will when lodging applications for grants where the will contains a charitable bequest.  The form should include details of all charitable bequests including a bequest of the residue if a charity is a residuary beneficiary.  Submitting several forms in respect of one estate will result in the forms / application being returned to you and this will delay the processing of your application. 

The Charitable Bequest Form must be:

  1. generated and submitted online via the Charities Regulator’s MyAccount portal;
  2. downloaded and printed for signing by the LPR / solicitor acting on their behalf;
  3. scanned and uploaded to the submission on MyAccount; and
  4. the hard copy lodged with the application for a grant to the Probate Office/District Probate Registry.

LPRs / solicitors acting on their behalf will need a user account to log into MyAccount. Information about MyAccount can be found on our website including how to create a new user account or log in to an existing account.

The Probate Office is required to forward the following details to the Charities Regulator in accordance with its statutory obligations under the Charities Acts:

  1. particulars of every charitable devise or bequest contained in any will entered in the Probate Office or a District Probate Registry;
  2. the name of the testator (the deceased);
  3. the name of the person to whom probate was granted;
  4. the date of the will and the date of the grant of probate or letters of administration with will annexed.  
  • How do I file a charitable bequest form?

    The ‘Charitable Bequest Form’ must be generated and submitted online via the Charities Regulator’s MyAccount portal. On the left hand side of the home page, click “Charity Services” and select “Charitable Bequest Form” from the list of application types and complete the online form. Then, please print a copy of the completed form, insert your five digit Submission Reference (SR) number, arrange for the hard copy to be signed by the LPRs, upload a scanned copy to your submission on MyAccount and submit the hard copy with your application for a grant to the Probate Office/District Probate Registry.

    After the grant has issued, receipts for the payment of charitable bequests to beneficiaries must be submitted on behalf of the estate to the Charities Regulator. These receipts could take the form of a letter or other written correspondence from the registered charity confirming that they have received the bequest. 

    Where payment of a charitable bequest cannot be made promptly, LPRs / solicitors acting on their behalf are required to make the beneficiary aware of the charitable bequest and forward this notification to the Charities Regulator. You must quote your five digit Submission Reference (SR) number in all correspondence in relation to a charitable bequest form. The SR number can be found in the “My Filings” section of your MyAccount portal.

    If there is a difference between the sum gifted in a specific legacy, or another change in the details of the charitable bequest compared to the wording of the will, the estate accounts and an explanation should be sent to the Charities Regulator.  It may be appropriate to seek the Opinon/Advice under seal of the Charities Regulator pursuant to section 21 of the Charities Act 1961 before making any distribution in certain circumstances.

    Please note the following:

    • You do not need to be an Authorised Filer for a charity to file a charitable bequest form.  As with all Charity Services Unit applications, anyone can sign up for a user account on MyAccount and file a form.  By filing a form, you confirm that the information submitted is correct and that you are authorised on behalf of the estate to make the filing.   
    • If you are an LPR making a filing on behalf of the estate and there is no solicitor acting in the estate administration, you may insert your address in the “Solicitor details” section on the online form and note there is no solicitor involved. 
    • When you have generated the PDF of the charitable bequest form, you will be issued with a Submission Reference (SR) number.  You should handwrite the SR number on top of the form and note it for your file.  Please quote the SR number in all future correspondence. 
    • When the form has been signed, you must open your draft filing in MyAccount and upload the signed form to the application.  You must then (1) submit the signed form online to the Charities Regulator; and (2) lodge the paper form with your application for a grant of probate/letters of administration with will annexed to the Probate Office/District Probate Registry.
    • Please note that due to the volume of applications received, after a grant issues, it takes several months for the charitable bequest form to be processed.  You may submit receipts for payments of charitable bequests (1) by attaching them to a Message in MyAccount, quoting the SR number; or (2) by email quoting the SR number
      to ; or (3) by sending them by registered post, quoting the SR number to: Charity Services Unit, Charities Regulator, 3 George's Dock, IFSC, Dublin 1, D01 X5X0, Ireland; or (4) by delivering them to our office, quoting the SR number.     

    The charitable bequest form should only be used for bequests in relation to charities operating in Ireland.

  • What to do if a will contains a clause establishing a new charitable trust / organisation?

    LPRs should seek professional independent legal advice if it appears that a clause in the will of a deceased establishes a new charitable trust / charitable organisation.  It may be of assistance to obtain the Opinion/Advice of the Charities Regulator under section 21 of the Charities Act 1961 if it is unclear if a new charity is contemplated by the will clause, or whether it is simply a charitable bequest. Useful information in relation to the obligations to register a new charity with the Charities Regulator pursuant to the Charities Act 2009 is available on our website.

    If a will establishes a new charitable trust, the trustees also have duties to maintain and file details of the trust on the Central Register of Beneficial Ownership of Trusts (CRBOT) via Revenue’s website. Further information is available under “Charitable Trusts” on the FAQ section of our website.  The Charities Regulator is not responsible for CRBOT.