Legacy incomes will reach £5bn by 2030, report reveals

UK legacy income will total £19.6bn over the next five years, climbing to £23bn in the five years after that, it has been predicted.

Legacy Foresight’s latest Legacy Market Briefing has suggested that by 2030, UK charities will receive £5bn per year in legacy income from 146,000 charitable bequests.

The report shares top-line findings and analysis for UK legacy giving now and in the years ahead, highlighting key trends and implications for fundraisers.

According to the research, over the past three decades, total UK legacy income has grown from £0.8bn in 1990 to £3bn in 2020, an annual growth rate of 4.5%.

Income is up by 2.7% after inflation, which means that the real value of gifts in wills to UK charities has doubled over 30 years.

Legacy Foresight economist Jon Franklin said: “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.”

The number of charitable bequests has also risen by almost 50% over the past three decades, from 75,000 in 1990 to 112,000 in 2020.

Around 40% of all UK deaths result in a will at probate and 16% of those wills at probate are now charitable, up from 13% in the late 1990s.On average, there are 3.3 charitable gifts per will and 38% of charitable wills contain just one bequest; 28% include four or more.

In addition, medium (£1-10m legacy income) and large (£10-25m legacy income) legacy charities report the fastest five-year growth rates of 6.3% p.a. and 4.7% p.a., respectively with more specialised and often local cause areas gaining ground.

Over the past ten years, the fastest-growing sub-sectors have been air ambulances (14% p.a.) and wildlife trusts (13% p.a.), followed by arts and education charities, NHS hospitals, and mental health charities, all ranging between 7% and 8% p.a.

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