The volume of legacy pledges made to health charities has increased by more than 95 per in the past three years, according to data released by the will-writing website Farewill.
Data collated from wills written in England and Wales between January and November 2021 also revealed a significant rise in pledges to cancer charities, with an increase of about 45 per cent in the volume of bequests since 2019.
Cancer charities remained the most popular cause area for legacy giving, according to Farewill. More than four in 10 (41 per cent) of legacy pledges were made to the cause area, up from 28 per cent in 2019.
Animal welfare charities retained their position as the second most popular cause area, but the volume of legacy pledges fell from nine per cent in 2019 to six per cent in 2021.
And the volume of legacy pledges made to health charities jumped from three per cent to six per cent – an increase of 95 per cent. Farewill attributed this to the influence of the pandemic on people’s legacy choices.
Commenting on the findings, Dan Garrett, chief executive of Farewill, said the data demonstrated the ways in which legacy giving reflected wider social trends.
“One of the greatest privileges of being a wills provider is being able to witness people’s kindness and generosity,” he said.
“It’s fascinating to track the causes close to peoples’ hearts when faced with their own mortality, and how legacy giving points to wider social trends and the impact of the pandemic.”
The research also identified generational differences in cause-led legacy giving.
Findings revealed that people born between 1997 and 2012 were six times more likely to pledge gifts to environmental charities than those from the post-war generation (1928-1945), while millennials were the age group most likely to name homelessness and housing charities in their wills.