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Total UK legacy income grew from £800m in 1990 to £3bn in 2020, a doubling in value in real terms

Legacy incomes will reach £5bn a year by the start of the next decade, new figures show.

Research by the charity legacy consortium Legacy Foresight estimates legacy income will be worth £19.6bn between now and 2025 and climb to £23bn in the second half of the decade.

The consortium predicts that charities will receive £5bn in legacy income in 2030 from 146,000 bequests.

Total UK legacy income grew from £800m in 1990 to £3bn in 2020, an annual growth rate of 4.5 per cent a year, it said.

After considering inflation, income is up by 2.7 per cent a year, which means that the real value of gifts in wills to UK charities has doubled over 30 years.

Over the same period the number of charitable bequests rose by almost 50 per cent to 112,000 in 2020.

Legacy Foresight said that because of the size, wealth and lifestyles of the Baby Boomer generation, legacy incomes are expected to double again in real terms by 2050.

The consortium estimates that 40 per cent of all UK deaths result in a will at probate and 16 per cent of those wills at probate are now charitable.

On average, there are 3.3 charitable gifts per will, as 38 per cent of charitable wills contain just one bequest and 28 per cent include four or more.

Legacy Foresight also found that more specialised and often local cause areas are gaining ground.

Over the past 10 years, the fastest-growing sub-sectors have been air ambulances (14 per cent a year) and wildlife trusts, followed by arts and education charities, NHS hospitals and mental health charities.

Legacy notifications are expected to reach record numbers in 2021 and 2022.

Third Sector