Helping fulfil donors’ final wishes

27 February 2017

Gifts left in Wills raised an incredible £2.54 billion for charities in the UK in 2015.[i] But once these generous donations have been made, what happens to them?

Specialist staff within charities ensure that all gifts are dealt with sensitively and professionally and, most importantly, that they have the greatest possible impact on the charity’s work.

So if you decide to leave a gift to a charity in your Will, you can be confident that your wishes will be fulfilled.

As part of our vision to help our members ensure that every generous donor’s final wishes achieve their greatest potential, we are really pleased to have launched our Good Practice Guidance.

People at the heart of our work

The guidance brings together the high professional standards legacy professionals take pride in working to. These recommended practices will guide charities through the process of dealing with gifts left in Wills, from when they are told a donor has passed away through to when the gift is used.

While every step of this process is underpinned by legal and regulatory frameworks, the Institute of Legacy Management and our members are acutely aware that the work we do is fundamentally about human beings.

Treating donors with respect

We know that leaving a gift is an important and extremely personal decision, and that we come into contact with people at an immensely difficult time in their lives.

Therefore the guidance intends to help legacy professionals strike a careful balance between ‘process’ and ‘people’, always making sure that donors and their families and friends are treated with the humanity they deserve.

Doing their best

When a donor has passed away, charities have specific legal and regulatory obligations. For example, they have to obtain certain documents, such as copies of the Will, and valuations of property. The guide highlights the importance of communicating sensitively with lay executors and families during this time.

Charities already do their utmost to ensure that the wishes of generous donors are fulfilled in the way they choose. We hope that this guidance will inspire them to do their best – making sure the legacy process is as smooth and efficient as possible for everyone involved.

This will help us in our ultimate aim to ensure generous donors’ final wishes are fulfilled, and their impact is as great as it can be.

Chris Millward, chief executive at the Institute of Legacy Management

The Institute of Legacy Management is a membership organisation that offers training and support to specialist legacy professionals.

Read our Good Practice Guidance.

[i] Legacy Foresight