Britons 'rival US' on legacy giving

Research showing that Britons neglect charities in their wills is misleading, a legacy specialist has claimed.

Smee & Ford said research from insurance company Axa, which reveals only 8 per cent of Britons of working age intend to leave a legacy to good causes (Third Sector, 20 April), looks only at 'intenders', not those who actually make a legacy gift.

"Intenders are notoriously unreliable when it comes to what they actually do," said Richard Radcliffe, Smee & Ford chairman. "We know that 75 per cent of them change their mind."

The organisation's own research shows that 5 per cent of Britons leave a legacy in their will and make an average gift of £20,000, which is identical to the average for American people.

Radcliffe said that Holland had the fastest growing will-making population in Europe, with a 32 per cent increase each year - legacy making is also increasing rapidly there. Most legacies in Spain and Italy go to the Catholic Church and a few leading charities, while in France, which came sixth in the Axa research, legacy giving is almost unknown.

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