Nine out of ten people surveyed would be proud to see parents leave a gift to charity in their Will

22 May 2009

New research from Remember A Charity reveals that attitudes to inheritance are changing.

89% of people surveyed would be proud and pleased to see their parents leave a gift to charity when writing a will, after they have looked after friends and family.

Just 7% still see such a decision as ‘eccentric’. However, rather than leaving a gift in a will to an animal charity (12%), it is cancer and child welfare charities that people would be most proud for their parents to consider  when writing a will(63%).

The research suggests that growing levels of social awareness and charity mindedness are behind the trend. 80% of us consider ourselves charitably minded while 72% have become more interested in social issues like international aid and the environment over the last five years.

Professor Cathy Pharoah, Co-Director of the ESRC Research Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy at Cass Business School, said: “Families are an important place for passing on the values of giving, and this research shows that children can feel very proud of their parents’ desire to support the causes they care about through legacies.

“Charitable legacies have the power to help shape the world for future generations. More people are making bequests to charities tackling the global challenges of the future, such as environmental causes, international development and cancer. Whether your legacy is small or large, it can protect the future of the local or global charitable work you most value.”

But while a new generation is happy to see their parents give money to charity in their will, the parents themselves are still playing catch-up. Previous studies have found that for many having a family and wanting them to come first often means a charity is never considered – possibly because people incorrectly assume it’s an ‘all or nothing’ situation.

Stephen George, Chair of Remember A Charity and Head of Legacies for the NSPCC commented: “This research flips the issue of charity-giving in wills on its head. Despite what many parents may think, it seems many of us are very happy to see a proportion of our parent’s estate go to charity. This perception gap may be why only 7% of the UK population plan to leave a legacy gift . If we could increase this to 11% – we could raise an extra £1 billion for UK charities and the vital work they do.”