One in five people leave a gift in their Wills, with the majority of legacies left going to animal charities, research from First4Lawyers has shown.
First4Lawyers collated data on 2016 donation income from 15 of the UK’s biggest charities, and polled 2,000 people. Its figures show that gifts in Wills total an average £2 billion each year, with cancer charities receiving the biggest income from legacies but the highest number (43%) of legacies going to animal charities.
According to First4Lawyers’s analysis of annual reports, out of the top 15 charities, Cancer Research UK received the most from legacies last year at £187m, from 6,000 gifts in Wills. RNLI was second with £118.5m, followed by Macmillan, at £76.8m. The RSPCA received £71.4 million: three times more than the NSPCC, which received £23.4 million, with the PDSA, RSPB and Dogs Trust also all in the top 15 for income from legacies.
% of people who leave a gift in their Will to each cause:
- Animal-related 42.93%
- Cancer-related 32.46%
- Other illnesses 20.42%
- Child-related 6.81%
- Poverty-related 13.61%
- Other 18.32%
Of those surveyed, half say they are leaving the majority of their money and assets to their children while 1 in 8 do not plan leave their children anything. Over 90% of people will not be leaving anything for parents or friends, and 80% say siblings will not be included in their Wills. The survey also found older age groups less likely to leave a gift to charity: 1 In 5 of those aged 45+ said they would do so, compared to half of 18-24 year olds with a Will. Two-thirds of those who have not made a Will are over 55.
First4Lawyers also found high levels of unawareness around the effect leaving money to charity can have on inheritance tax liability, with 80% unaware that leaving a gift to charity can reduce inheritance tax. The age groups least aware of this were 18-24 year olds (93%), and 25-34 year olds (87%). However, once made aware of the fact, they were also the most persuaded groups to leave a charity donation (40%), compared to over 55s (11%).
Andrew Cullwick, spokesperson at First4Lawyers said:
“It’s intriguing to see how many people are unaware that leaving a gift to charity can reduce inheritance tax, and that now armed with that knowledge, a quarter of people would be persuaded to change their mind.”
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