Although British people worry about their finances, the majority no longer expect to receive a considerable amount of future inheritance... | DDLS Issue 73

Financial Concerns Limit People’s Inheritance Expectations But Not Their Charitable Spirit


Although British people worry about their finances, the majority no longer expect to receive a considerable amount of future inheritance and are willing for their parents to factor in other beneficiaries into their Will, including good causes. 

These findings - from a recent study(see footnote) by Remember A Charity - highlight the importance for solicitors of making clients aware of the option of including a gift to charity in their Will, once they have taken care of family and friends. 

Based on twin surveys of over 2,000 adults (half aged 30-45 and the other aged 65+), the study explored people’s attitudes and expectations around inheritance. It found that while both generations worry about their finances, the older generation is more concerned about their children’s futures than their own. They want to be able to take care of their children and are concerned about escalated living costs and other financial uncertainty.

The under-45s expressed their worries about their own financial future, with the rising cost of living, social care, property prices and Brexit all cited as factors that are reducing their expectations around what they might inherit in the future. As a result, only a third of adults said they expect their parents to leave them everything they own when they pass away and fewer still now factor inheritance into their long-term financial planning.

While both generations were asked their views on what they want to do with their estate or inheritance and whether they would be happy for any potential inheritance to be donated to good causes, the under-45s were shown to have a particularly strong social conscience. 

Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity, says: “This suggests a shift in attitudes between generations. The older generation is enthused about the concept of leaving a gift, but remains understandably anxious about the need to take care of their families.

“Meanwhile, their children’s generation is equally concerned about finances, but no longer expects to receive a sizeable inheritance. They have a strong social and moral conscience and, although most hope to be included in their parents’ Wills, the main concern is for their parents to do what they want with their estate, making provisions for all those things that matter to them.”

When it comes to charitable donations, over half of under-45s are happy for their parents to donate part of their estate to good causes. One in 10 claim that they have already actively encouraged their parents to use their Will to do social good and one in 20 went so far as to say that they would be happy for their parents to leave their full estate to good causes.

Cope adds: “Despite the spiralling costs of living, social care and economic uncertainty around Brexit, people have a strong social conscience and many even encourage their parents to use their estate to make the world a better place.

“We would always encourage people to consider their family and friends first, but it’s great to hear that people seem to understand that they can use their Will both to look after their loved ones and their favourite charities.

“With charities feeling the double-edged sword of continued funding cuts and ever increasing demands for services, the support of the legal profession has never been more important.”

Backed by Government and the Law Society, Remember A Charity is now launching its annual outreach programme working to encourage solicitors and Will-writers to highlight the opportunity of including a charitable gift to clients. The campaign is calling on solicitors and Will-writers to join its existing network of over 1,100 Campaign Supporters and commit to share information with clients about legacy giving.  

To find out more or join the existing network of 1,100 campaign supporters visit www.rememberacharity.org.uk.

Footnote: Survey carried out by Censuswide, 14-18 July 2017. Sample base 1,014 people aged 30-45 and 1,008 people aged 65+.