UK charity legacy income predicted to reach £5bn in 2030

Finders InternationalBy Legal Futures Associate Finders International

The UK charity legacy income, i.e. how much is left to good causes in people’s Will, is predicated to reach £5 billion by 2030, according to the charity legacy consortium, Legacy Foresight, with legacy notifications expected to reach record numbers in 2021 and 2022.

The total amount of UK legacy income increased from £800m in 1990 to £3bn in 2020, a doubling in value in real terms, and the new figures show the predicted income by the start of the new decade.

Legacy Foresight estimates the income from legacy will be worth £19.6 million between now and 2025 and will reach £23 billion in the second half of the decade, with charities received the £5 billion in legacy income from some 146,000 bequests.

Upward trend

The trend is an upward one, with total UK legacy donations growing from £800m in 1990 to £3bn in 2020, equating to an annual growth rate of 4.5 percent a year, the Legacy Foresight report reads.

Taking into account inflation, income is up by 2.7 percent a year, which means that the real value of gifts in wills to UK charities has doubled over the past 30 years.

At the same time, the number of charitable bequests rose by almost 50 percent to 112,000 in 2020.

Baby boomers

One of the causes of the increase in donation numbers and amounts is the Baby Boomer generation according to Legacy Foresight. The Baby Boomer generation generally indicates people born between 1946 and 1964 during the post-World War Two baby boom, a large cohort of people whose wealth and lifestyle tends to exceed that of others.

This could mean that legacy incomes will double again real terms by 2050.

The consortium estimates that 40 percent of all UK deaths result in a will at probate and 16 per cent of those wills at probate now contain charitable gifts. On average, there are 3.3 charitable gifts per will, with 38 percent of charitable wills containing one bequest and 28 per cent including four or more.

Another development has seen more specialised and local cause charities gaining traction.

Over the past 10 years, the fastest-growing sub-sectors for legacy bequests have been air ambulances (increasing by 14 percent a year) and wildlife trusts, followed by arts and education charities, NHS hospitals and mental health charities.


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