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Setting Up A Charity

Many clients who have lost a loved one consider setting up a charity in their memory, so that their name lives on in the wider community and is forever associated with the public good.

Those charities could be set up to help the less fortunate in society, to save lives, to relieve poverty and suffering, to promote education, animal welfare, protection of the environment or other good causes.


What Qualifies As A Charity?

In England and Wales, a charity is an organisation that is:

•Established for charitable purposes only, and

•Subject to the High Court’s charity law jurisdiction

The Charities Act sets out a list of defined purposes that are used to decide whether an organisation merits charitable status. To qualify, the prospective charity must meet one of these 13 criteria.

How Long Does It Take To Set Up A Charity?

Setting up a charity and gaining approval from the Charity Commission of England and Wales is complex and can take many months to years rather than weeks.

One such example; A charity that we helped set up took eight months to incorporate, this is normal because the Charity Commission require a lot of evidence and clarification even after the application is submitted. Our experienced Solicitor will be able to guide you through the process and help to make it as smooth as possible.

How Much Does It Cost?

Each case is unique and we will provide a quote on an individual basis. As an example, setting up a small charity will created a minimum of 10 hours work and incur costs from £2,000 upwards at our hour rate, plus VAT and disbursements. The costs will be considerably higher if there is significant complexity involved.

The Charities Act 2006 states that a registered charity must have an annual income of at least £5,000 to be incorporated, so it is worth discussing what benefits incorporation has for your charity or if another charitable structure would be more appropriate.

The work involved to incorporate a charity includes:

  1. Drafting the application, which is a substantial document and takes an in depth look at the charity itself;
  2. Drafting the Model Constitution (governing documents for the charity);
  3. Drafting and signing of the Trustee Forms;
  4. Any ancillary documents that are required in supporting evidence;
  5. Liaising with the charity commission and providing answers to any post application enquiries they have

Types Of Charities

There are different types of structures that can be used:

  • Charitable incorporated organisation (CIO)
  • Charitable company limited by guarantee
  • Charitable unincorporated association
  • Charitable Trust
  • Charitable Community Benefit Society
  • Community Interest Company (CIC)

Some structures fall under the Charity Commission, whereas others are company based such as a CIC. We understand the importance of getting the right structure for your charity and we can advise and guide you on the benefits of each based on your individual circumstances and your charitable aims. For more information on the type of structures take a look at the government website.

Get Expert Legal Advice

Setting up a charity is a specialised area of the law that requires careful consideration and a great deal of planning.

Our solicitors can help you to decide which structure would be best for your proposed charity. We can apply on your behalf to the Charity Commission of England and Wales.

Meet the team

Anthony Weber

Partner and Head of Wills & Probate

Jenny Oxley


Kerry Hay

Associate Solicitor

Marie Harder

Associate Solicitor

Ricky Langlois

Associate Solicitor

David Parfitt

Coles Miller Consultant

Holly Munro


Stephen Peck


Emma Stagg

Private Client Executive

Julie Morgan

Trainee Legal Executive (ACILEx)

Lucy Hingston

Trusts Executive

Shadi Meehan (Maternity Leave)

Trainee Legal Executive

Mari Swain


Justine Hefferin

Legal Executive

Taras Tymofijiw

Trust Expert

Christine Vaughan


Sunshine Malama

Lead COP Specialist Paralegal & PA to Anthony Weber

Antonia Chan

Trainee Solicitor

Jasmine Payne

Trainee Solicitor

Adele Jones

Legal Secretary

Alexandra Sagan

Legal Secretary

Bercim Temel

Legal Secretary

Carol Patrick

Legal Secretary

Shirley Ellis

Legal Secretary

Sophie Lawson

Legal Secretary

Suzy Trickett

Legal Secretary

Zoe Stynes - Maternity Leave

Legal Secretary

Jocelyn Brown

Legal Secretary

Susan Burgess

Legal Secretary

Georgia Robinson (Maternity Leave)