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Charities Continue to Feature Regularly in Wills

The amount of income charities in the UK received through charitable legacies left in wills has reached an all-time high, Remember A Charity has revealed.

The figures were published in a recent report by Smee & Ford, and show that there has been a steady increase in legacy income over the past five years, which has now reached £2.5 billion – an increase of 39%.

Interestingly, while the value of bequests has been increasing, there has been a fall in the number of wills reported to contain a charitable legacy. Numbers fell from 37,775 in 2015 to 36,197 in 2016. However, Smee & Ford highlight that numbers could still rise as data for the year is apparently still being gathered.

One charity that appears to have made significant gains in the amount of legacy income received is Cancer Research UK. It reports its legacy income as increasing by £11m to £177.8m and commented that notifications of legacies “are at historically high levels”.

Another charity to see significant increases in charitable bequests is the British Red Cross, which saw legacy income rise from £22.2m to £32.6m.

In total, 36,197 estates included a gift to charity in 2016 and Smee & Ford calculates that 6% of people overall included a charitable bequest in their will.

Over the years, 23,000 different charities have benefited from estate bequests, and in 2016 alone more than 3,000 charities were named as beneficiaries in wills for the first time.

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