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2022 saw charities receive highest number of bequests on record


Almost 16% of wills processed by Smee & Ford in 2022 included a gift to charity – 36,992 out of the 231,582 estates that included a will.

The number of individual bequests within charitable estates that were granted probate in 2022 was the highest number Smee & Ford has ever recorded, at 123,298.

The total value of charitable estates also exceeded Smee & Ford’s prediction (£20bn in its September update), finishing on £21.3bn. Again this was the highest on record. 

In addition:

31% of legacy income came from bequests worth over £500k

A further 22% came from bequests valued between £100-£250k

This means over half of all legacy income in 2022 came from high value bequests worth over £100k

Not all organisations have yet reported their final accounts to the Charity Commission, so the final legacy income figure for 2022 is not yet confirmed, but as a conservative estimate Smee & Ford predicts it may sit at around £3.5bn.

Polly Avgherinos, Managing Director at Smee & Ford, said:

“It is encouraging to see that 2022 was another strong year for legacy income and that the number of charitable bequests recorded in wills has reached a new record. The Smee & Ford team look forward to continuing to support the great work that charity legacy teams do and ensuring that legators’ wishes to support causes close to their hearts are realised.”

Allan Freeman, Chair of Remember A Charity added:

“In today’s volatile economic environment, it’s hugely encouraging that gifts in Wills continue to be such a significant and vital source of income for UK charities. More and more fundraisers tell us that legacy income is what’s enabling them to continue delivering services and, perhaps what’s most exciting, we’re seeing growing recognition among senior management of the importance of shoring up legacy fundraising teams and investment to protect their charities’ futures.”

The full and final statistics will be shared in Smee & Ford’s upcoming free annual Legacy Trends report

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