Legacy income grows at highest rate since 2008

Latest figures from Legacy Foresight show that members of the Legacy Monitor Consortium registered an increase of 4.6 per cent in the year to September 2012

Legacy income rising
Legacy income rising
Charity income from gifts in wills in the year to September grew at its highest rate since mid-2008, according to the latest figures from Legacy Foresight.

Figures published today from the 61 members of the Legacy Monitor Consortium, who account for more than half of the charity legacy market, show that they received a combined legacy income of £1.079bn, an increase of 4.6 per cent on the year to September 2012.

The three months to the end of September were also the sixth consecutive quarter that have shown a rise in legacy income, according to Legacy Foresight’s quarterly benchmarking bulletin.

Growth was boosted by all aspects of legacy giving, the bulletin says, with average values up across both residual and pecuniary bequests.

The average residual legacy, a gift of all or a percentage of someone’s estate after all debts and other bequests are made, was worth £53,600. Legacy Foresight says this was just below the peak of £53,800 before the economic downturn began in 2008.

But its bulletin notes that the average for residual legacies was skewed by a small number of very large bequests and a more typical residual legacy would be worth between £20,000 and £25,000.

Pecuniary legacies, gifts of a fixed sum of money, were worth an average of £3,490. Such cash gifts accounted for only 8 per cent of legacies.

"Following a spate of positive economic indicators, the legacy market is expected to recover still further next year," the bulletin says.

"Legacy Foresight predicts that by 2017 the legacy market will have grown to £2.4bn – an increase of 15 per cent on 2012.

"However, after taking into account inflation forecasts (averaging almost 3 per cent per annum) the market will see no real growth over those five years, and will still be considerably below the pre-crunch market peak of 2006."

Legacy Foresight also publishes a Legacy Market Snapshot report, also released today, which looks at recent trends in gifts in wills.

Charities working in overseas development, environmental protection and medical conditions are seeing relatively fast growth in legacies, according to the report. Animal welfare and armed forces charities are also performing well, it says.

Disability, children’s and religious charities are lagging behind, and other health sectors such as hospices are also experiencing relatively slow growth, the report says.

The Legacy Market Snapshot predicts that things are starting to look up for legacy giving after five years "in the doldrums".

"The sheer size and accumulated wealth of the baby-boomer generation will ensure that the legacy market will grow from 2020 onwards," it says. It says the number of deaths will start to grow in 2017 and accelerate over the following decade to reach 623,000 a year by 2030 and 743,000 a year by 2050. 

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