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Over £500 million donated since 2015 via online will writer Farewill

Melanie May | 21 February 2022 | News

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Farewill has seen more than £500 million donated to good causes via its online will writing service since 2015.

And, in a supporting survey carried out by OnePoll of 2,000 nationally representative adults, the online will writer also found that 25% of those surveyed said they have or plan to leave legacy gifts to charities in their will, with Brighton and Hove, Wrexham, and Southampton coming top at the UK’s most generous cities.

More than one in ten (11%) say that the pandemic has made them more likely to donate to a health charity or NHS trust, with over half of these feeling motivated by witnessing the extra hard work organisations do in times of need (56%) and to help cancer treatment delays (54%).


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This follows consumer data from Farewill that shows legacy pledges to cancer charities made via the will writer have increased by 45% since 2019. Legacy gifts to cancer charities now account for 41% of all charitable gifts written in wills via Farewill, compared to 28% in 2019. 

Other health charities have seen a 96% rise in legacy gifting across the last three years. 6.2% were to health charities in 2021, compared to 3.17% of pledges in 2019.

Whilst the trend for naming cancer charities in wills spans all age groups, elsewhere there are generational differences in cause-led legacy gifting – with Gen Z six times more likely to pledge gifts to environmental charities than those from the post-war generation.

Older generations are twice as likely to pledge to military causes compared to millennials and Gen-Z, while millennials are the age group most likely to name homelessness and housing charities in their wills.   

Altruism across all ages has increased in the past three years, with those aged 51-60 seeing the largest increase – 70% – in charitable pledges since 2019.

Location also influences charitable will giving. A quarter (25%) of pledges to hospice causes come from the Southeast, as do 36% of sports and recreation donations. Yorkshire, the Humber, and the Northwest give the highest proportion of their pledges to Cancer charities (63%) followed by the Northeast and Wales (59%). Those living in urban areas such as London are more likely to pledge gifts to homelessness and housing charities (38%), human rights causes (36%) and hospitals (44%). 

Farewill CEO and co-founder, Dan Garrett, commented:

“One of the greatest privileges of being a wills provider, is being able to witness people’s kindness and generosity. It’s fascinating to track the causes close to peoples’ hearts when faced with their own mortality, and how legacy giving points to wider social trends and the impact of the pandemic. It highlights why it’s important to have a will in order to express your wishes, protect your loved ones and celebrate your legacy.”

The data was collated from wills written in England and Wales by Farewill between 1 January and 15 November last year. The volume of pledges by sector has been measured by the percentage of pledges that they accounted for during each calendar year.