Public now much more positive about legacy giving, says survey

24 May 2019 News

A consumer tracking survey has suggested that the public is significantly more positive about charitable legacies than it was a decade ago.

The poll, which was conducted on behalf of the Remember A Charity consortium this year, found that just 47 per cent of respondents believed it was better to give money to charity when you are alive than through a legacy. This compares to 63 per cent in 2008.

Furthermore, just 41 per cent said close relatives had a right to the majority of an estate, compared to 72 per cent previously.

The survey was conducted by the consumer research company OnePoll.

People are more open to legacy giving

Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, said: “We’ve seen a real shift in attitudes in recent years, with the public indicating that they are more open to the concept of legacy giving and this is a positive sign for the years ahead.

“While legacy income will inevitably fluctuate to reflect wider economic trends, the public’s propensity to give is the key driving factor for market growth.

“This poll suggests not only that the public is more willing to leave a gift, but that they have a clearer understanding of legacy giving and think people should be free to do what they want with their estates. 

“People still do worry about how their family might feel if they leave a charitable gift in their will and this underlines the importance of encouraging potential legators to discuss their wishes with their family, reducing the risk of dispute.”

Effective efforts from charities and legal sector

Cope said the new level of understanding of legacies reflected the effort charities and the legal sector have made to communicate positively and collaboratively about the impact of gifts in wills.

The current challenge for Remember A Charity, he said, was to review what can be done to move the emphasis on from building awareness to inspiring supporters to take action and write charitable gifts into their wills.

The survey, which was carried out between March and April 2019, found that two thirds of respondents said it was acceptable to leave your entire estate to charity if you choose to.

40 per cent of people over 40 were happy to give a small percentage of their estate to charity, up from 35 per cent in 2008.

70 per cent felt that people should tell their children if they intended to leave a reasonable legacy to charity in their will.

Only one in four believed their family would object to them leaving a charitable legacy, down from 31 per cent in 2008.


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