Charities Minister highlights importance of legacy giving

7 December 2017

This week, Government has reasserted its support for legacy giving, with Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, writing to more than 8,000 solicitors, asking them to make Will-writing clients aware of the option of including a charitable gift in their Will.

Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said:

“We want to increase awareness of legacy giving and make it the norm, so as many charities can benefit as possible.

“There are many ways we can boost recognition. Employers can promote the scheme when providing information about pensions and retirement. Legal firms could also talk clients through the process of legacy giving when discussing their Will.  

“I hope solicitors who receive this letter will join Remember A Charity’s growing network of campaign supporters.”  

As part of Remember A Charity’s work with the legal sector, the letter highlights the importance of legacy giving to charities across the nation and the key role legal advisers have in making clients aware of all their options when writing a Will.  It invites solicitors to join Remember A Charity’s growing network of more than 1,100 Campaign Supporters who share a commitment to offer advice on gifts in Wills to clients.

Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity, said: “The legal community has such an important role to play in making the public aware of all the options when writing a Will. While we always encourage people to consider their friends and family first, it is critical that solicitors also make clients aware that they can support charities in this way too.”

Research from the Behavioural Insights Team[1], shows that solicitors can treble the number of legacy gifts made simply by referencing the option of including a charity.

Cope adds: “People have all sorts of misconceptions about gifts in Wills, often believing that you have to choose between family and charity, or that you need to be wealthy to leave a legacy.  The reality is that even a small amount can make a massive difference to the good causes people care about.”

Since carrying out annual promotional activity to the legal press and monitoring the approach of solicitors and professional Will-writers towards legacy giving, Remember A Charity has reported a record level of legal advisers talking about the tax benefits of legacy giving with clients. The annual tracking study, carried out by Future Thinking in December 2016, reports that seven in ten (72%) 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).

The study also found that three-quarters of advisers that work for one of the consortium’s Campaign Supporter firms always mention charitable legacies during the Will-writing process compared to just a third of advisers at other firms.

The campaign aims to grow the number of Campaign Supporters and for charity to become a standard inclusion within any conversation about Will-planning.

Legacy income is currently worth more than £2.8 billion[2] a year to UK charities; the largest single source of voluntary income to the sector. Any charity can benefit from a legacy gift, with 25,000 different charities having been named in Wills since the year 2012[3].

[1] ‘Legacy Giving and Behavioural Insights’, Behavioural Insights Team (2016)

[2] Legacy Foresight, 2017

[3] Smee & Ford, 2017