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Year-on-year increase in charitable bequests recorded

Monday, 9 September, 2019

Gifts left to charities in wills have increased for another year, according to Co-op figures, with the number of bequests growing by more than 50 per cent.

Based on wills written though the Co-op’s legal services from July 2018 to June 2019, charitable giving through estate bequests grew 53 per cent on the previous year, and the gifts range from the financial to the donation of collectible items.

The figures come as it emerges that smaller charities are benefiting more from estates than larger, well-established ones. In the wake of scandals involving Kids Company and Oxfam, donors are increasingly turning to smaller charitable organisations.

While 2018 saw GBP3 billion donated to charity in wills – an increase of 50 per cent since 2008 – nine of the top-earning 25 charities reported a year-on-year decrease in earnings since 2017.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Rob Cope, Director of Remember a Charity, said: ‘I think it is undoubtable that there has been greater scrutiny of larger charities, but people are still giving to them. In the past, people may have just donated to larger charities, but we are seeing an increase in the breadth of charities supported.’

However, he added that reasons for the shift towards smaller charities are ‘multifaceted’, saying that the 2012 change to inheritance tax, reduced from 40 per cent to 36 per cent if a person leaves 10 per cent of their estate to charity, is also a key factor.

Meanwhile, charity will-writing scheme Will Aid has revealed that its annual campaign is seeing increasing numbers of clients opting to leave gift bequests to the charity and its associated partners in their wills.

The charity’s recently released figures show that more than 800 UK solicitors helped to raise GBP1 million for charity through Will Aid in 2018.

The annual campaign, which is preparing for its November 2019 launch, asks solicitors to volunteer their time to write basic wills, waiving their fees and instead asking clients to make a voluntary donation to Will Aid. All funds are shared between Will Aid’s nine partner charities: ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) and Trocaire.