The figures show that 37,261 Wills that went to probate in England, Scotland and Wales in 2015 included a legacy donation, up from 34,908 in 2014. This is the highest number of charitable estates ever recorded by the data analysis firm.
Donors included an average of three charity beneficiaries in each Will, with over 121,000 bequests recorded in 2015.
Legacy income also rose. Smee & Ford’s analysis of legacy income for charities with total income of £500,000 and above in England and Wales indicates that the value of gifts in Wills grew from £2.2 billion to £2.3 billion, a rise of 5% from 2013/14 to 2014/15. Total legacy gifts across the UK are estimated to be worth around £2.5 billion, according to figures from Legacy Foresight.
Earlier this year, Smee & Ford also revealed that the number of charities named as beneficiaries in Wills had grown by 10% from the year 2014 to 2015.
Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, said:
“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.
“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.”
Remember a Charity in your Will Week takes place from 12th-18th September 2016.