Number of different charities named in wills increased by 10 per cent last year

But the figures do not show the amount of income those charities received over the course of the year

The number of different charities named in wills increased by almost 10 per cent in 2015, according to data from the legacy consortium Remember A Charity and the law firm Smee & Ford.

The data shows that 9,910 different charities benefited from money left in wills over the course of 2015, compared with 9,019 in 2014 and 9,079 in 2013.

Of the charities included in the data, 45 per cent, or 4,410, had not been previously named in wills since Smee & Ford began analysing the data in 2012.

Approximately 4,000 new charities appeared in the 2014 and 2015 data, Mark Pincher, a data analyst at Smee & Ford, told Third Sector.

Smee & Ford will publish overall legacy income statistics later this year, but a legacy income survey for 2014 found an 8 per cent increase in income to £2.2bn.

Pincher said that of the 19,000 organisations identified in wills since 2012, 49 per cent had only been mentioned once, with approximately 9,500 organisations mentioned twice or more.

The data shows that almost half of the charities included in wills for the first time have religious, culture and heritage, community or educational backgrounds.

The number of charitable estates has grown from 28,982 in 2007 to 36,226 in 2015, the data says, with one in six wills that go to probate including a charitable bequest. This is despite a fall in the UK death rate over the same timeframe.

Pincher said: "Considering the whole charitable population totals more than 180,000 organisations in the UK, it is true that there is a small group that attract the majority of bequests. However, our research shows that annually there are up to 10,000 charities mentioned in wills, which is much broader than we initially perceived.

"It is certainly positive to see the number of charities supported increasing by 10 per cent in 2015 and we look forward to examining the results for 2016."

Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, said: "These findings mirror our own experiences – we are getting more and more enquiries from a range of charities, including arts and health organisations, that have recently entered the legacy field.

"Greater competition might mean that some charities will see their market share squeezed, which is why our collective work to encourage and grow legacy giving is so important. Our drive for behavioural change in the wider public is ever more important in making legacy giving a social norm." 

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