There have been 25,311 charitable estates processed by Smee & Ford so far this year, which is 1,195 more than at the same point in 2021 and a 42% increase on the same time in 2020. Looking at this trajectory, we estimate that this number could reach 42,000 by the end of the year.
The values of charitable estates have also seen a solid increase, with a current running total of over £12bn compared to £10.6bn at this point in 2021 and £7.8bn in 2020. This could potentially reach £20bn by the end of 2022, which would be the highest number on record.
Bequest values in wills read by Smee & Ford are now around the same level year-on-year at £1.9bn. There have been several large bequests since we last updated this information at the Legacy Strategy Summit in June 2022, where the overall number was tracking behind 2021 by £147m.
When looking at the number of cases granted probate in 2022 so far, the percentage of charitable estates is slightly less than the same period in 2021. We would not consider this to be a trend at this point in the year and previous years have been relatively consistent.
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The picture for 2022 so far is a positive one, and is encouraging for charity legacy teams to see the benefit of the hard work they do. We will continue to track and provide information to support the sector throughout this year and beyond.