Small charities see fastest growth in legacy income over last decade

Small charities, including those supporting local air ambulances and wildlife trusts, are seeing the fastest growth in legacy incomes in the charity sector over the last decade.

Latest figures show that air ambulances have seen the fastest growth in gifts left in wills, increasing by 14% over the last ten years.

Wildlife trusts have seen similar growth, by 13% over the same period.

Meanwhile, NHS hospitals, mental health charities as well as arts and education charities have all seen growth of between 7% and 8% in their legacy income over the last decade.

The figures have been released by Legacy Foresight, which says the number of charitable bequests received has grown by 50% over the last 30 years.

It says that legacy notifications will reach record numbers this year and into 2022. In the three months to March 2021 the number of notifications of legacy gifts was the highest since the legacy consultancy began recording the figures 14 years ago.

Legacy Foresight says this recent, rapid growth “suggests that some of the problems around probate applications may be starting to unwind” post pandemic.

By 2030 Legacy Foresight is predicting that legacy income for charities will reach £5n a year, from 146,000 bequests, up from 2020’s figure of £3bn.

It is also predicting even longer-term growth over the next three decades, due to the wealth and lifestyles of the ageing baby boomer generation.

“After a difficult couple of years, the outlook for legacy incomes is promising. However, the strength of the recovery is highly dependent on the pace at which delays in the estate administration process can be unwound,” said Legacy Foresight economist Jon Franklin.

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