Legacy pledges to homelessness and housing charities up 75%

Pledges by people to leave a gift in their will to a homelessness or housing charity increased by 75% in 2022, research has found.

This boost for charities supporting those impacted by homelessness is part of increased interest in legacy giving during the year. Pledges for all good causes were up by 8.7% during 2022.

Cancer, animal welfare and military charities remain the most popular.

The research has been carried out by will writing firm Farewill, which also found that 14 May last year saw the biggest spike in charitable legacy pledges, by 43% on this day.

The cost-of-living crisis and the fallout from the Covid pandemic have contributed to this increase in legacy pledges to good cause, says Farewill.

“The lasting unseen impacts of the pandemic also appear to have influenced where customers choose to donate in death,” it said.

"It found there has been a 127% rise in promised gifts to mental health charities over the last two years, “suggesting that the psychosocial effect of covid and economic uncertainty may have impacted where the UK chose to leave a legacy gift,” added Farewill.

George Shelley, legacy manager at homelessness charity Crisis added: “As the rising cost of living puts more households under pressure, we've seen higher demand for our services as people are pushed to the brink of homelessness.

“Crisis is fortunate to have such generous supporters. Over the last year, we've seen an increase in the number of people pledging gifts in their will to make a difference to our mission to end homelessness that costs them nothing now."

The findings have been revealed by Farewill in its Year in Wills report. This also found that the proportion of wills written by Generation Z, relating to those born from 1997, doubled last year.

For the second year running those living in Bristol, South East London and Birmingham where the top three areas for writing wills.

Impact of housing market

Despite the boost in legacy giving, charity sector experts are warning that income from gifts in wills could be set to fall in 2023, due to a fall in UK house prices and the value of estates.

Last week the NCVO warned “this trend could hit legacy income for many charities”, pointing to a drop of 2.3% in November 2022 house prices according to lender the Halifax.

Legacy Foresight has warned that house prices could fall by as much as 14% by 2024, triggering a 3% reduction in the value of bequests.

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