Charities are now receiving more than £3bn per year in legacy income, according to Smee & Ford’s annual trends report.
Legacy income has increased by 10 per cent from the £2.8bn recorded last year.
A spokesperson for Smee & Ford told Civil Society News: "Legacy income has reached a new milestone and is now worth over £3bn, the largest ever reported.
"An examination of annual legacy income change, where legacy income exists for both the current and previous year, shows that of the 1,800 charities with legacy income for two consecutive years, 51 per cent reported an increase and 49 per cent reported a decrease.
"The increases were worth £434m whereas the decreases were worth £311m, creating a net increase in legacy income of £123m.
"There are also organisations which received legacy income which did not previously."
Increasing number of charitable estates
Smee & Ford found the highest number of charities ever recorded named in wills in 2018 - over 10,400 individual charities.
There was also an increase in the number of charitable estates in 2018 (37,856) from 2017 (37,364).
They said: "The general longer-term trend is that the number of charitable estates increasing persists."
Smee & Ford’s latest annual trend report with more details about charitable estates for UK charities will be published in full on 13 June.
It will look at the nature of gifts in wills and the cause behind each legacy.
The legacy information provider read over 5,000 wills a week to report on their charitable content.
Legacy income includes residual bequests – based on a portion of the total estate value, pecuniary bequests – a defined amount in a will, and conditional bequests that are given when specific conditions in a will are met.