Changing attitudes to charity fuels increase in legacies

Consumer research conducted by Remember a Charity has revealed a steady rise in the number of people choosing to leave a legacy in their Will. 20% of UK charity supporters aged 40+ say they have left a legacy in their Will, compared to 14% 10 years ago; an increase of 43%.

Other findings include

  • One in five supporters said they had included a charity in their Will (20%)
  • Just over one in 10 said they are preparing to do so (11%)
  • Fewer than one in 10 reject the concept altogether (9%)

The research surveyed more than 2000 charity donors aged 40+ to track legacy giving attitudes and behaviour year-on-year and is conducted using a “Stages of Change” model for tracking, which features six levels

  • rejection of leaving a gift in their Will; 
  • pre-contemplation unaware – those who have never thought about it and are not sure if they would consider it, 
  • pre-contemplation aware – those who have thought about it and given it low consideration; 
  • contemplation – those who know about it and would consider leaving a gift; 
  • preparation – those who intend to give;
  • action – those who have already left a gift in their Will. 

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Just under two thirds of people surveyed (63%) had already written a Will, with three in 10 of those having included a charitable donation (29%). Despite the economic climate, the large majority of all respondents (80%) said they were just as likely to leave a charitable gift as 12 months earlier, with twice as many people (14%) saying they were more likely to give than those saying they were less likely (6%). More than four in ten people are aware of the inheritance tax advantages of leaving charitable gifts in Wills. 

 The age at which people first wrote a Will is unchanged; just over half write their first Will when under the age of 50, with the average age of first Will-writing being 50. The research suggests those more likely to have written a will are older and more financially affluent. Those with less assets, no children or grandchildren, or from ethnic minorities are less likely to have written a Will.

The research also shows that death of a loved one is a key trigger – particularly for those making their first Will when younger. Birth, marriage or house purchases are also strong triggers for younger Will-makers, while retirement is a major driver for older generations.  

Lucinda Frostick, Director at Remember A Charity, the consortium of 200 UK charities working to promote charitable gifts in Wills, says:

“This continued growth in appetite for legacy giving is hugely encouraging, reflecting greater understanding of the option to pass on gifts to good causes alongside loved ones in a Will. It may take years – in some cases decades – for donations to filter through, but that income will be crucial in funding charitable services for generations to come.” 

Remember A Charity runs a free Campaign Supporter scheme for solicitors and Will-writers, providing promotional resources and useful guidance for referencing legacy giving with clients. Find out more at www.rememberacharity.org.uk/about-us/for-solicitors-will-writers  

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