‘Highest number’ of legacies left in wills since records began

08 Sep 2016 News

Over 37,000 wills in England, Scotland and Wales featured included a legacy donation in 2015, making it the highest number of charitable estates ever recorded, according to Smee & Ford’s latest data.

Legacy data analysis firm Smee & Ford have said that 37,261 legacies were left in wills that went to probate across England, Scotland and Wales in 2015, up from 34,908 the previous year.

This 6.7 per cent increase represents the highest number of charitable estates ever recorded by Smee & Ford.

The data also shows that each registered donor left, on average, three charity beneficiaries, meaning that over 121,000 bequests were recorded for 2015.  

“The last three years have surpassed the highest levels of charitable estates we have ever recorded,” said Mark Pincher, data analyst at Smee & Ford. “In conjunction with the housing market, legacies have increased dramatically.”

Smee & Ford’s data also shows that the total legacy income for those charities with a total income of £500,000 or over in England, Wales and Scotland have risen 5 per cent in the last financial year.

The total value of gifts in wills across England, Wales and Scotland reached £2.3bn in 2014/15, while total legacy gifts across the UK (including Northern Ireland) have been estimated to be worth approximately £2.5bn.

The analysis also shows that the ‘baby boomer’ generation – those born between 1946 and 1964 – are beginning to become an increasingly important part of the legacy process.

In the last five years, baby boomers donations have increased to the point where they now make account for 10 per cent of charitable estates, a 3.7 per cent increase from 2010.

Rob Cope, director of Remember a Charity, said: “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.

“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.”

The release of the data comes a week before the launch of Remember a Charity week, which runs between 12 and 18 September 2016.


More on