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Increasing legacy gifts by 1% could raise over £100m a year for charities

The latest annual Legacy Trends report published by Smee & Ford examines what’s happening in the legacy market today, the importance of legacy fundraising and what charities can do to optimise your legacy potential.

Smee & Ford has over 125 years’ experience in legacies and from September 2012 has recorded every bequest mentioned in a Will. This data can be used to determine trends in the legacy market to help charities forecast your potential future legacy income and plan your legacy marketing strategy.

In looking at the legacy picture for 2018 we can identify several key traits in UK legacy giving.

Legacy income is now worth over £3 billion

Legacy income has reached a new milestone in 2018, now worth over £3 billion. This is the largest ever reported and means that 3.9% of total sector income is now derived from this revenue stream, financially supporting countless projects across all causes throughout the sector.

There were 37,856 charitable estates in 2018

Charitable estates saw an increase in 2018, up from 37,364 in 2017, however estates were worth just £17.9 billion in 2018 compared to £18.4 billion the previous year, slowing down the growth of residual values. 16.7% of the value of charitable estates went to charities. Applying this percentage to the total value of non-charitable estates, legacies could be worth another £10.9 billion to the sector. If we can convert just one percent of non-charitable estates to charitable, we can raise another £109 million each year for charities.

6.3% of the population leave a bequest in a Will

A total of 123,235 bequests were recorded in Wills during 2018, an increase from the 122,849 recorded in 2017. From this 6.3% we can see that the typical legator is female, from the south of England, aged 77 when writing her Will, aged 89 when she dies, and typically leaves three charitable bequests.

There is an average 6.5 years between date of last Will and date of death

This figure can help you identify when future legacy income might come in for your charity based on your marketing activities, but it is important to know the specific average lapse for your charity or cause. To do this, keep a record of all your past legacies and use your own data to find out your average lapse time.

To download the full Legacy Trends report and find out more about the potential factors affecting your legacy giving click here. 

Discover how to put your organisation’s legacy strategy ahead of the curve at this year’s Excellence in Legacy Administration conference, on 3 December 2019 in London. Register your interest now!

Register your interest for the upcoming 2019 Excellence in Legacy Administration conference now!

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