More people leaving charitable bequests than ever

Figures from Smee & Ford show that 37,261 wills included charitable donations in 2015

Record numbers of people left charitable legacies in their wills last year, new figures indicate.

Data compiled by the legacy information company Smee & Ford shows that of the wills that went to probate in England, Scotland and Wales in 2015, 37,261 of them included charitable donations, the highest figure recorded since the firm started compiling the data in 2008.

It beats the previous high of 36,957, recorded in 2013.

Smee & Ford said donors included an average of three charity beneficiaries in their wills, meaning more than 121,000 bequests were recorded in 2015.

The company’s analysis of legacy income for charities with total annual incomes of £500,000 or more in England and Wales showed that the value of charitable donations grew from £2.2bn in the year to the end of June 2014 to £2.3bn a year later.

The data has been released to tie in with Remember a Charity in your Will Week, which starts on Monday.

Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, the consortium of more than 160 charities working together to encourage people to leave charitable bequests, said: "Legacies have never been more important to charities and this year’s findings are great news for the sector, showing that more people are choosing to remember a charity in their will than ever before.

"While the marketplace has benefited from an increase in property and share prices in recent years, inflating legacy values, it is the continued appetite for legacy giving among supporters that remains critical to long-term market growth."

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