More over-40s happy to leave gifts to charities in wills

More people over the age of 40 are happy to leave gifts to charity in their wills than they were 11 years ago, a survey has found.

The survey of 2,000 adults over the age of 40, carried out online earlier this year by OnePoll on behalf of Remember A Charity, mirrored one carried out by the legacy consortium commissioned in 2008.

In 2008, 35 per cent of those surveyed said they would be willing to give a small percentage of their estates to charity. The figure in the latest survey is 40 per cent.

This year, fewer people said their families would object to them leaving “a reasonable sum of money” to charity (26 per cent, down from 31 per cent in 2008) and 65 per cent said it was acceptable to leave your entire estate to charity if you wanted to, up slightly from 64 per cent.

The 2008 research found that 62 per cent thought children had a right to their parents’ estates and 72 per cent thought close relatives had a right to inherit the majority of an estate. But both of these figures have fallen to 41 per cent in the 2019 survey.

There also seems to be more trust in charities to use a legacy wisely: in 2008, 63 per cent said they thought it was better to give money to charity while you were alive so you could see how it was spent; but in the 2019 survey that figure has fallen to 47 per cent.

Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, said:

“We’ve seen a real shift in attitudes in recent years, with the public indicating that they are more open to the concept of legacy giving. This is a positive sign for the years ahead.

“Legacy income will inevitably fluctuate to reflect wider economic trends, but the public’s propensity to give is the key driving factor for market growth.

“This poll suggests not only that people are more willing to leave gifts, but also that they have a clearer understanding of legacy giving and think people should be free to do what they want with their estates.”

Cope said the new level of understanding reflected how hard charities and the legal sector had worked to communicate positively and collaboratively about the impact of gifts in wills.