Record Number of People Leaving Money to Charity in Their Will

Record Number of People Leaving Money to Charity in Their Will
BA (Hons) & LPC Siobhan Cribbin
Written by: Jessica Lee Legally reviewed by: BA (Hons) & LPC Siobhan Cribbin Updated: In: Wills and Probate

Leaving money to charity in your will is a great way to give back to a cause. Smee & Ford’s annual Legacy Trends Report shows the highest number of charities named in wills over a decade. The Legacy Trends Report reveals that 10,670 unique charitable organisations were named in wills in 2021. This is the highest number on record.

The graph below shows the average number of individual charities mentioned in wills each year. Of the 10,670 charities named in wills in 2021, around 2,000 were mentioned for the first time. This is since Smee & Ford started collecting this data a decade ago. Of these charities:

  • 21% were religious
  • 15% were culture and heritage
  • 13% were community projects

Record Number of People Leaving Money to Charity in Their Will

Legacy Trends Report Indicates Charitable Estates Growth

37,242 charitable estates were identified in 2021. This is a 10.7% increase from the previous year. As a result, the number of charitable estates in 2021 was the highest amount in 5 years. One of the reasons for the increase in charitable estates is that 2019 and 2020 were impacted by processing and system changes at the HMCTS. Additionally, these years were affected by the pandemic.

From 2020 to 2021, the number of charitable states increased by 3,592. If you consider that there are three bequests per will, this increase means there are over 10,000 additional charitable bequests.

Legacy Strategy Summit Forecasts for 2022

At the Legacy Strategy Summit, Mark Pincher, Head of Data at Smee & Ford commented:

“In the first half of 2022, we have seen a similar number of charitable estates to 2021.  Although overall estate values are higher than last year, the value of bequests are slightly down due to fewer high-value estates identified so far.

The overall picture for 2022 so far is a positive one, and if things follow the same trajectory, we could see estate values reaching £19bn by the end of 2022 indicating another strong year for legacy income.”

Additionally, the Legacy Trends Report included that this year’s reported legacy income has dropped to £2.7bn. This would put the estimated total legacy income estimated to be more than £3.2bn. 4% of charitable wills contained just one named charity and 21.7% contained two charities, with the highest number of charities in one will in 2021 being 61. Finally, nationally around 14% of probated estates with wills are charitable. 1 in 5 being wills are charitable in many areas of the south-east and south-west compared to 1 in 8 to 10, in many areas of the north-west and Wales.

The Different Ways to Leave Money to Charities in Your Will 

There are two main options to consider when you decide to leave money to charity in your will. These are:

  • Place the responsibility on the trustees of your will – this could be a family member.
  • Specify in your will a registered charity or charities that will benefit.

If you wish to choose specific charities, it is a good idea to also include the charity numbers in case they happen to change their name.

If you decide to appoint your trustees in your will to choose the charities, then it is essential that you leave clear instructions about what you want. This will aid in their decision.

What Can You Gift Charities in Your Will?

  • A particular property or asset
  • A cash sum
  • Your residual estate or a share of it. This will be what’s left after other specified gifts, costs, and taxes.

Why Are More People Considering Leaving Money to Charity in their Will?

The main reason that a lot of people leave money to a charity in their will is to show their appreciation for the work that the charity has done, therefore you want to leave a legacy. There are additionally some practical reasons for leaving money or a charitable gift to a charity in your will. The main advantage is that these assets will be exempt from inheritance tax. Our specialist solicitors are able to help you organise your estate and assets to achieve this.

Expert from our Wills and Probate Solicitors

There are some rules about leaving money to charity in your will, so consulting with trust and estate solicitors is beneficial.

If you want to discuss how you can leave money or assets to charity in your will, then we can help. We offer expert legal advice on all matters of wills and probate.

Find out more on our Will Writing Solicitors page

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