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Charitable will-writing gaining ground beyond the boomer generation

Public appetite for charitable gifts in wills is on the rise, with more than one in five charity donors (21%) aged 40+ saying they have included a gift in their will, up from 14% in 2010, according to Remember A Charity’s annual consumer tracking study.

Figures from 2023 show that legacy giving is most prevalent amongst those with wills in their 40s and 50s, single, and without children or grandchildren. Almost four in ten (37%) of those with a will aged 40-60 have included a charity. This compares with around one quarter (27%) of those aged over 60.

Three quarters of supporters (77%) say they would be willing to leave a small percentage of their estate to charity, with more than one in ten (13%) saying they would be open to leaving 10% or more of their estate.

Legal advisers play a crucial role in making clients aware of the option of including a gift in their will alongside family and friends, with almost six in ten (57%) of the over 40s saying they have used or would use a solicitor, and one in six (17%) a Professional will-writer, to set out their final wishes.

The Remember A Charity consumer benchmarking study, carried out by independent research firm OKO, surveys more than 2,000 charity donors aged 40+ to track attitudes and behaviour around charitable will-writing year-on-year. Lucinda Frostick, director of Remember A Charity, the consortium of UK charities working to grow the legacy giving market, welcomes the findings, saying:

“This study shows not only the long-term positive shift in legacy giving attitudes and behaviour, but that the propensity for donating through a Will is gaining ground beyond the Baby Boomer generation – particularly for those in their 40s and 50s. The role of professional advisers is crucial in ensuring that clients know they have the option to include their favourite charities in their Will, alongside their loved ones.”

Will-writing trends

The study shows an incremental rise in will-writing in recent years, with almost two thirds (64%) of supporters having written a will in 2023, up from 63% in 2022 and 62% in 2021. The average age when first making a will is 51 years, although more affluent individuals are more likely to write their will at a younger age. Of those with a will in place, almost one third (31%) have included a charity. Almost three in ten (29%) of those who included a legacy donation did so when making changes to an existing will.

Four in ten (42%) of those surveyed said they were aware of the Inheritance Tax (IHT) incentives of leaving a charitable gift in a will, with charitable donations being tax-free and a reduced rate of IHT (36%) on estates where 10% or more of the net value is donated. However, many with significant assets are not aware. One third (35%) of those with assets of £1m+, and four in ten (42%) of those with assets of £500k to £1m, are not aware of the charitable incentives. Lucinda added:

“Legacy giving is one of the largest sources of voluntary income for UK charities, raising £4 billion annually**. These donations are sustaining a wide range of charitable services, from hospices and homeless shelters to mental health helplines, emergency rescues and more. That income has never been more valued or more needed.”

Over 900 solicitor firms and will-writers across the UK are part of the consortium’s professional adviser network of Campaign Supporters – a free scheme for solicitors and will-writers that make clients aware of the option of donating from their will. Remember A Charity provides Campaign Supporters with resources and guidance for referencing legacy giving with clients, listing each firm on the consortium’s online directory of solicitors and will-writers.

Remember A Charity works with charities, a network of legal advisers, partners and Government to grow legacy giving all year round. The campaign also hosts the annual Remember A Charity Week, taking place 9-15 September 2024.

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