Smee & Ford Legacy Trends Report 2023

April 20, 2023

The latest annual Legacy Trends report from Smee & Ford concludes that 2022 has been a very positive year for charities that receive legacy income, with several new milestones reached. Revenue from legacies is at the highest level it has ever been, with record highs for the number of charitable estates and the values of those estates.

Many charities increased revenue from legacies in their latest financial year and benefitted from the continued generosity of legators across the UK, bequeathing gifts to fund their causes and programmes. Success stories include RSPCA which saw an increase of 67% to £90.8m, Guide Dogs which saw an increase of 61% to £77.7m, and the British Heart Foundation which increased by 32% to £102.6m.

Legacies should prove relatively resilient in the face of the current economic climate. Other forms of voluntary income are likely to be impacted by the current cost-of-living crisis, as people reassess their budgets and cut back on donations to charities. However, legacy income could be affected by decreases in house prices having a detrimental impact on residual estate values in the forthcoming year.

Looking longer term, the ONS has predicted that the number of annual deaths will increase to 700,000 by 2030. Based on these predictions and assuming that the trend towards leaving charitable gifts in Wills continues, Smee & Ford says that we can expect to see the number of charitable estates reach 40k in 2029 and the total number of bequests in Wills to surpass 130k in 2028, reaching 150k by 2043.

Download the full report.

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