Legacy income up 7.6% to £3.9bn, data reveals

Annual legacy income for England and Wales has risen by 7.6% to £3.9 billion, according to Smee & Ford data.

The data, up to the end of October 2023, shows that approximately 13.5% of probated estates with wills are charitable. Smee & Ford is forecasting around 36,500 charitable estates by the end of the year, which is slightly less than last year’s 37,038.

However, based on data from the Charity Commission charity accounts (July 2022 – June 2023) supplemented with S&F data, we can see that legacy income has increased by 7.6%. Average estate values have also increased from £439k in 2016 to £584k in 2023.

Recent figures suggested that charity legacy income is estimated to have reached £4bn and bequest numbers almost 140,000 in the year 2022/23 — an annual income growth of 6.5%. The record growth is estimated based on this year’s Legacy Monitor from Legacy Foresight – the sector’s annual benchmarking research programme, which gathers data from over 80 charities, accounting for almost 50% of the charity legacy market.

While the upward growth trajectory looks set to continue for the long-term, Legacy Foresight warns that current economic conditions are likely to negatively impact growth in the coming months

Smee & Ford have taken receipt of the highest number of issued grants from HMCTS in October this year with November a close second which bodes well for 2024.

Its full year report will be published in the spring.

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