Leaving some money to charity in your will certainly isn’t a new idea, but it seems that it’s growing in popularity, with new research revealing that in the last 12 months a 53 per cent rise in legacy gifting has been seen.

The Co-op study shows that people appear to be growing more generous when it comes to leaving charities gifts in their wills, with cancer charities the most popular choice, followed by animal groups and international organisations.

Some of the fastest growing beneficiaries were found to be poverty and homeless charities, as well as those that help the elderly. Interestingly, legacy giving to charities offering support to homeless people and those living in poverty has risen by 227 per cent. And legacy giving to groups helping the elderly is up 174 per cent.

Head of wills for Co-op Legal Services James Antoniou said: “Over the past twelve months, we’ve  certainly seen an increased desire for clients to leave charitable gifts of all types in wills and this is often something that the charities heavily rely on. We work with a number of charities, both large and small, offering affordable will writing services to their supporters to make this possible.”

With funeral costs spiralling these days, it might be wise to start thinking about how your family would make the payments if you were to suddenly pass away without any plans in place. It might seem a bit macabre but planning your own funeral can really help to reduce the burden that your family will have to face at what will already be an emotionally fraught time.

Further research from the Co-op shows that just one in ten people now want a traditional religious funeral, with all sorts of unique ideas now coming to the fore – such as tattoos, fireworks and steam trains.

The top ten most unique ashes tributes for those who have been cremated were putting them inside the furnace of a steam train, putting them in fireworks, creating tattoos, scattering them during a skydive, sending them up over the sea inside a balloon, putting them in a model aeroplane, taking them around the world, putting them in the car so they can always travel with a loved one, keeping them in a rucksack to carry them everywhere and scattering them at a US baseball ground.

The most unique funeral destination requests were the zoo, a bus, the McDonald’s Drive Thru, beside a snooker table with the coffin on top, next to the 18th hole on a golf course, in a cafe, a cattle auction house, sports clubs, next to a busy bypass and in a teepee.

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