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Lexis+ AI
John Vander Luit

Editor, Solicitors Journal

The importance of legacy giving

The importance of legacy giving


In the lead-up to 'Remember A Charity In Your Will Week', Rob Cope outlines the latest inheritance research findings, and emphasises the importance of solicitors reminding clients about charitable donations in their wills

When we commissioned our research into the different attitudes and expectations of 1,000 over-65s and under-45s around inheritance, we were unsure of what to expect. After all, there's no doubting that many of us worry about our financial futures '“ especially in times of economic uncertainty. However, our results revealed that we're also a nation that has a strong social conscience, happy to support our loved ones in their gifts to their favourite causes, despite our own financial concerns.

Our responses from the over-65s revealed a generation that is enthused about the concept of leaving a gift, but understandably anxious about the need to take care of their families. When questioned, more than half (53 per cent) worry about their own financial futures, but more still (64 per cent) have concerns about their children's finances. While the majority of people in this age group (53 per cent) would like to leave a charitable gift in their will, family concerns prevail. On average, they say they would be happy to donate 5 per cent of the value of their estate.

This inheritance value amount is a considerable contrast to our results of what under-45s say they are willing to share with charities. We found that two-thirds said that they would be happy for their parents to leave a charitable bequest, donating an average of 16 per cent of the value of their estate to charity. One in ten claim that they have actively encouraged their parents to use their will to do social good and 5 per cent went as far as to say that they would be happy for their parents to leave their full estate to charity.

Keeping these figures in mind, the importance of professional advisers remaining open to discussing legacy giving with their clients is clear, allowing both their loved ones and their favourite charities to be looked after. It's a sensitive issue but one that is worthwhile, both in terms of respecting people's final wishes and boosting vital funds for charities.

We estimate that just a 4 per cent increase in people leaving a charitable legacy would mean an extra £1bn for good causes, and gifts in wills already fund five out of every nine Marie Curie hospices and one in six children in NSPCC care. Imagine what a difference it could make if legacy giving were to become a social norm?

This 'Remember A Charity In Your Will Week', we're encouraging solicitors in England, Wales, and Scotland to make sure that their clients include everything that they care about by simply reminding them that leaving a gift to charity is an option, once they have taken care of family and friends. Even a small amount can make a difference to good causes across the UK.

Rob Cope is director of Remember A Charity

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