A record number of people in England and Wales are supporting charities with gifts in Wills. 10,6701different charities received a gift from a Will last year and 37,242 charitable estates were identified – a 10.7% increase on the previous year. This reflects the growing appetite for legacy giving and the key role the legal sector plays in providing impartial information for clients about how to go about it, while ensuring that people’s wishes for family and friends are met.
This news comes at the start of RememberACharity Week (5th –11thSeptember 2022), the nation’s annual public awareness campaign for charitable gifts in Wills. It echoes recent research showing that more than 1 in 5 Wills handled by UK legal advisers (22%)2now include a donation to charity.
The public supports a wide spectrum of charitable causes, from researching treatment for cancer and dementia to supporting vulnerable children and adults, taking care of pets and animals, mental health support, rescue services and many others. Over a third (37%)3of charitable Wills named just one charity, but more than one fifth (21.7%)4contained two.
When it comes to location, the areas with the highest concentrations of charitable Wills in 2021 include Brighton, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Bournemouth and Exeter. Areas that have seen the most annual gains in charitable estates are Brighton, Kingston-upon Thames and Ipswich.
Gifts in Wills are a critical source of funding for charitable services across the country, raising more than £3 billion for good causes annually. Generous tax reliefs make gifts in Wills one of the most efficient ways of donating. In the UK, charitable bequests are exempt from the 40% Inheritance Tax and, when clients donate 10% or more of the value of their estate, the IHT rate is reduced to 36%.
Lucinda Frostick, Director of RememberACharity – a consortium of 200 charities, says: “Legal advisers play a crucial role in helping the public understand all the options open to them when they write a Will. Our research shows that even the simplest of references to the option of leaving a gift in a Will to charity can double the chances that a client will choose to do so. And those gifts really can be transformational for UK charities. Today, that income is more critical than ever.”
The consortium works all year round to normalise charitable Will-writing across the UK by raising awareness of legacy giving among legal professionals and the public. Through its free campaign Supporter scheme for solicitors and Will-writers, it offers promotional resources and useful guidance for referencing gifts in Wills with clients.
To find out more or join the existing network of campaign supporters, see: https://www.rememberacharity.org.uk/advisers