Solicitors play a vital role in helping clients leave money to charity in their wills, research published today has shown.

According to the Behavioural Insights Team and the University of Bristol, clients who are told that many people leave money to charity in their wills are 40% more likely to do so themselves.

Solicitors feel able to raise the issue of leaving money to charity ‘comfortably and appropriately’, the researchers found.

The research was commissioned by Remember A Charity – an organisation formed of more than 160 UK charities that encourages people to consider leaving a gift in their will.

Rob Cope, the organisation’s director, said: ‘Many simply don’t realise that legacy giving is an option for them; that they can provide for family and friends and still have the opportunity of including a charity if they wish to do so.

‘The role of legal professionals is crucial in making clients aware of all the opportunities they might want to consider when writing a will.’

The research, which is being presented today at the Law Society, also surveyed the public on their views about solicitors raising the issue of leaving to charity. 

According to the survey, 69% of people indicated that they would be happy for their solicitor to raise the issue, while 46% thought a solicitor had ‘a duty’ to raise the option of giving to charity when discussing a will.

Robert Bourns, president of the Law Society, said: ‘Writing a will is an important step in ensuring that the people, and causes, we have cared about will be properly looked after when we pass away. Solicitors have a vital role to play in this process, using our legal knowledge and experience to give our clients the reassurance that their wishes will be properly carried out.’

The research was conducted using randomised control trials in eight firms of solicitors around the UK: McClure Solicitors, Else Solicitors, Lewis & Dick, Birchall Blackburn, Mullis & Peake, Leo Abse & Cohen, Turcan Connell and Coles Solicitors.