The number of people leaving money to charity in their wills has risen sharply in recent years, according to research by data analysis firm Smee & Ford.

Growth in Charitable Giving

The company found that in 2015, 37,261 wills that went to probate in England, Scotland and Wales included a legacy donation. This is a substantial increase over the 34,908 recorded in the previous year, and is apparently the highest number ever recorded by the firm.

The analysis, which has been published to help promote this year’s Remember A Charity week, also found that people leaving a charitable legacy in their will named three charities on average as beneficiaries, which means that over 121,000 bequests were recorded last year.

The amount of money being left to charities in wills has also risen sharply. Analysis found a 5% increase in the value of gifts in wills left to charities with total income of £500,000 and over, rising from £2.2 billion to £2.3 billion. In total, charitable donations in wills are thought to be worth around £2.5 billion. 

Important for Charities

“Legacies have never been more important to charities and this year’s findings are great news for the sector, showing that more people are choosing to remember a charity in their will than ever before,” explained Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity. “While the marketplace has benefited from an increase in property and share prices in recent years, inflating legacy values, it is the continued appetite for legacy giving among supporters that remains critical to long term market growth.”

“Legacy growth is testament to the collaborative work of so many charities, the legal profession and Government in becoming increasingly vocal about legacies and overcoming the barriers often associated with gifts in wills,” he added.

Leaving Behind Words of Wisdom

Remember A Charity is a consortium of around 170 charities. As well as encouraging members of the public to leave a charitable legacy in their will, it is also encouraging people to leave behind words of wisdom and inspiration for the next generation.

According to recent research by the consortium, 28% of the British public says they treasure the words of wisdom their loved ones left behind more highly than money or physical possessions.

Those people questioned said that the phrases they would most like to pass on to their own family and friends were:

1. Make the most of every day (mentioned by 46%)
2. Age is only a number (43%)
3. Happiness takes us places that money never will (36%)

“This Remember A Charity Week we want to encourage people to consider leaving a gift to a charity in their will and pass on something as rich and powerful as the wonderful words of wisdom they share,” said Rob Cope. “By making this donation they will be helping to leave behind a future they believe in and crucially donations that keeps means many charities continue to survive.”

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