Legacy income stalled in the first half of the year, according to figures published this week.
Legacy Foresight, which compiles figures based on data provided by 83 charities that account for 51 per cent of the legacy market, revealed that strong overall growth for the last 12 months disguised a downward trend in the first half of 2018.
Total legacy income rose by 4.5 per cent in the year to 30 June 2018.
But income actually fell by 1.25 per cent – from £1.51bn to £1.49bn – when the year to December 2017 is compared with the year to June 2018.
Meg Abdy, development director of Legacy Foresight, told Third Sector: "The situation is quite uncertain because of what's happening with the economy and Brexit in particular."
Residual bequests – the amount left in an estate after specific gifts have been bestowed, which account for 87 per cent of total legacy income – were a key factor in driving up overall income in the second half of last year.
But the average residual bequest fell from £60,680 in the year to December 2017 to £57,900 in the year to June 2018.
Pecuniary bequests, which are cash gifts, also fell in the year to June to an average of just below £4,000 after six months of growth.
Data from the Office for National Statistics show that the cold winter contributed to an 8 per cent increase in deaths in the first three months of the year compared with the same period in 2017.
The hot summer is also expected to lead to more deaths.
"This is likely to have a knock-on effect on bequest notifications later in the year," according to Legacy Foresight's latest legacy bulletin.