More solicitors reference tax benefits of legacy giving during Will-writing than ever before

7 April 2017

The proportion of solicitors and Will-writers talking about the tax benefits of legacy giving with clients has risen to an all-time high, according to new research commissioned by Remember A Charity.

The tracking study, carried out by Future Thinking, monitors solicitors’ and professional Will-writers’ approach towards legacy giving and attitudes towards working with charities.

Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, said: “It’s great to see record numbers of advisers talking about the tax advantages of legacy giving and that our campaign supporter scheme is making a real impact here. The challenge now is to build on this momentum, working collaboratively with the legal sector to ensure that advisers are well informed and remain enthusiastic about raising the issue of legacy giving with clients.”

The latest survey – conducted in December 2016 – reveals that more than seven in ten (72%) solicitors and Will-writers always or sometimes advise clients about the inheritance tax benefits of legacy giving, up from 66% in 2015 and 61% in 2009, when the survey was first carried out.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of advisers always or sometimes proactively mention the option of leaving a gift to charity, with 38% saying they always do so. One fifth of advisers occasionally proactively mention charity, while 14% never do.

Advisers working with one of Remember A Charity’s campaign supporter firms are more than twice as likely to always mention charity bequests. There are now over 1,100 campaign supporter organisations that commit to mention the option of charitable giving during the Will-writing process.

Three-quarters of advisers that worked for one of the consortium’s supporter firms always mention charitable legacies during the Will-writing process compared to just a third of advisers at other firms.

On average, advisers report that 17% of Wills contain a charitable bequest, having grown steadily from 15% in 2011. The large majority (78%) said their firms have assisted in the administration of an estate containing a charitable legacy.

This news comes during the same week as changes to the inheritance tax framework, which take effect from 6th April 2017.

Remember A Charity has raised concerns that these changes pose a risk to legacy fundraising and called on Government to review the fiscal incentives available, including the feasibility of introducing a VAT exemption on the cost of legal services linked to writing Wills that include a charitable donation.