Public perception of legacy giving improves, poll finds

More people now say that they would be happy to leave a gift to charity in their Will, a poll has revealed.

The finding forms part of legacy group Remember a Charity’s latest consumer tracking survey, which looks at the attitudes of the public towards charitable giving.

In total, the poll, which was conducted between March and April this year, found that 40 per cent of people aged 40 and over would be happy to give a “small percentage” of their estate to charity.

This is compared to 35 per cent in 2008, indicating that the public perception of legacy giving has improved over the last decade.

Likewise, two-thirds (65 per cent) of respondents said it was “acceptable” for someone to leave their entire estate to charity if that was their choice.

The poll also found that seven in 10 respondents felt that people should tell their children if they intended to leave a “reasonable sum of money” to charity, while just a quarter (26 per cent) believe a family member would object to making such a gift.

Commenting on the study, 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 and this is a positive sign for the years ahead.

“While legacy income will inevitably fluctuate to reflect wider economic trends, the public’s propensity to give is the key driving factor for market growth. This poll suggests not only that the public is more willing to leave a gift, but that they have a clearer understanding of legacy giving and think people should be free to do what they want with their estates.

“People still do worry about how their family might feel if they leave a charitable gift in their Will and this underlines the importance of encouraging potential legators to discuss their wishes with their family, reducing the risk of dispute.”

The poll comes shortly after a new study, published by research firm Legacy Foresight, showing that legacy income alone across 80 of the biggest charities amounted to £1.52 billion – indicating the importance of awareness and strategy around planned giving.

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