Average annual value of charitable legacies ‘to rise by more than a quarter’

Charities should expect a sharp rise in the value of legacies, according to estimates of giving through wills over the next five years.

The average annual value of charity legacies will jump to £4.2bn from 2022 to 2026, up more than a quarter compared with the preceding five years, the legacy data company Legacy Foresight said today.

Researchers said the growth would be driven by factors including “slightly elevated” numbers of deaths in 2022 compared with normal, the rising value of property, and clearing a backlog in probate.

The analysis suggests that between 134,000 and 137,000 charitable bequests will be made each year on average.

Jon Franklin, economist at Legacy Foresight, which conducts research for the Legacy Futures Group, said: “There are several factors that will influence the legacy market over the coming years, not least the potential impact of the crisis in Ukraine on the stock market and elevated death rates linked to Covid-19.

“But the underlying drivers of legacies remain robust and even in our most pessimistic scenario we expect to see considerable growth both in the number and value of legacy donations for charities.”

Franklin said there could be between 30,000 and 40,000 bequests waiting to be processed, “so we are expecting to see some element of catch-up as more of these work their way through the system, and that could be a welcome boost for charities”.

Data earlier this year showed that legacy income was up by 12.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2022, compared with the years worst affected by the pandemic.

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