If you’ve ever watched the London Marathon, or taken part in it yourself, you’ll know that charities play a central role in the event. Lots of the competitors are raising money for a nominated charity, often because they themselves have a personal connection with the organisation, or a loved one has.
There are thousands of charities across England and Wales, and as the heartfelt stories during the London Marathon coverage show, many of these support people suffering from illness. They may also support their families, raise money for research and provide much-needed information to those looking for answers.
But how many people who call on the help of these charities will remember them in their Will? Let’s do the maths…
According to the Office for National Statistics, the registered deaths in England and Wales in 2015 show that:
- 29.9% of the population died from cancer
- 11.6% of the population died from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- 26.2% of the population died from circulatory diseases, such as heart diseases and strokes
Therefore 67.7% of the population died from these conditions alone. As they’re so common, it’s more than likely that we’ll be directly affected by one of them, or know someone who is. And yet while hundreds of people will choose to run 26.2 miles in the name of charity, far fewer will leave a legacy in their Will – which you can start to organise from the sofa!
Figures show that in 2015, 38% of the population had a Will*. According to research by Co-op Legal Services, of those who do make a Will, just 9% will request that a legacy is taken from their Estate and given to charity after their death. And that’s all charities, not just the ones that fight the leading causes of death in England and Wales.
So that means that only 4% of the population in England and Wales make a Will and leave money to charity, yet nearly 68% of people die from cancer, dementia/Alzheimer’s and circulatory diseases – the very illnesses that some of these charities actually work to prevent.
But the reality is that gifts in Wills are incredibly important to UK charities. Without this income charities would have to cut services, and many would simply not exist. Did you know that gifts in Wills are the equivalent of almost 25 Comic Reliefs appeals each year? You might also be interested to know that gifts in Wills pay for:
- Two out of three guide dogs
- Six out of ten lifeboat launches
- A third of Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work
- Nearly a third of the work carried out by the Royal National Institute of Blind People
- Half of all calls to the Lullaby Trust helpline
Really, it’s just like signing up to a sponsored race – you’re trying to do something that will contribute towards the health of future generations. It’s just that you’re making that contribution after you’ve gone, rather than during your lifetime. And it’s fitting that the end of your life could help to save someone else’s.
As they say, what feels like the end is often the beginning.
* According to a YouGov survey