A new report has revealed 2022 saw legacy income reach unprecedented levels for charities in England and Wales.
The report, put together by Smee & Ford, looked at 37,053 charitable estates out of a total of 269,699 estates processed in 2022 that included a will. This means around 14% of probated estates with wills are charitable.
Organisations reporting legacy income to the Charity Commission increased to £3.3bn, a 13.2% increase on the previous year (£2.9bn). Smee & Ford said these organisations represent the largest legacy recipients in the country and receive at least £500k of total annual income.
For charities who do not report legacy income with the Charity Commission – those with a total income of less than £500k – legacy income was worth £447m in 2022, according to Smee & Ford. “This is significantly higher than in previous years, showing that more legacy income is being distributed to charities with lower total annual income,” said the organisation.
It’s therefore said that total legacy income to charities increased to around £3.7bn in 2022. This is the largest total ever recorded by Smee & Ford, as shown in the below graph.
The overall value of charitable estates also saw a substantial increase, rising by 7% from £19.9bn in 2021 to £21.bn in 2022. This also represents the first time values have exceeded £20bn.
“Estate value growth is important to legacies because growth in estate values translates to growth in the values of residual bequests,” said Smee & Ford. “In recent years, we have seen growth in the average value of charitable estates, from £496k in 2017 to £576k in 2022. Over the past year, the average value of a charitable estate has increased by 8%.”
However, the total number of charitable estates remained relatively steady from last year, sitting at 37,053.
Elsewhere in the report it was revealed that 2022 saw 10,627 unique charitable organisations mentioned in wills, the second highest total recorded by Smee & Ford in the past decade.
What’s more, it’s said 37.1% of charitable Wills contained just one named charity and 21.7% contained 2 charities. The highest number of charities named in one Will in 2022 was 79.
Polly Avgherinos, Managing Director at Smee & Ford, said:
“It is encouraging to see total legacy income for charities reach a record high in 2022, as well as a new milestone reached for the value of charitable estates. We hope that legacies will remain resilient in the face of the current economic climate, and remain committed to supporting the sector with valuable market insight throughout this year and beyond.”