A new report reveals that the Scottish legacy market is vibrant and growing, with gifts in Wills up substantially and more charities turning to legacies as a way of funding what they do.

The joint report on the Scottish legacy market from Remember A Charity, Legacy Foresight, the Institute of Legacy Management, and Smee & Ford shows that more than £90 million of legacy income is donated to Scottish charities every year.

Over the past two decades, the number of Scottish charitable estates has grown by more than a quarter, with the value of those estates trebling. The authors of the report believe the upward trend is set to continue, creating vast opportunities for charities who can persuade a new generation of legacy donors to give.

50 charities generate the ‘lion’s share’

According to the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, about 50 Scottish charities generate the lion’s share (70 percent) of legacy income and that 50 Scots write a gift into their will each week and that more than 4 in 10 Scots over the age of 40 say they would be happy to leave a gift to charity in their will.

Charitable legacies can be left through a will or by declaring to the executors of the will instructions as to how and to what charity the bequest is to be distributed. Donors can’t just inform family or friends of their wishes and need to make a will or add a codicil to an existing one that mentions the type of gift and the name of the charity/charities.

The UK’s Fundraising Regulator, which covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland, recommends people seek independent legal advice if they want to leave a legacy to ensure they fulfil the necessary legal requirements.

People shouldn’t feel pressurised

The Regulator also advises that people should never feel pressurised into making donations and that responsible fundraisers understand that is a big decision to make and should therefore give people the time and space to consider what they want to do.

There are certain tax benefits to leaving gifts to charity in a will.

The Fundraising Regulator in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can investigation concerns about charity fundraising, such as where the charity:

  • makes misleading or excessive requests for donations
  • is disrespectful or treats potential donors unfairly when seeking donations
  • is not transparent or open about the relationship the organisation has with a third party
  • fails to respect the donor’s wishes
  • does not deal appropriately with a complaint people make about fundraising


Finders International trace missing beneficiaries to estates, properties and assets.  To see a full list of our services, please visit our website.  Alternatively, you can contact us via telephone +44(0) 20 7490 4935 or email [email protected]