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Probate delays continue to impact legacy income

Probate delays continue to impact legacy income

Figures for 2019 Q3 from Legacy Foresight’s Legacy Monitor show bequest numbers are down by 8% year on year, across the consortium of 80 member charities.

The analysis shows that the majority (6%) of this decline is due to the impact of delays at HM Courts & Tribunal Service, caused by the transition to the new probate service, once long-term trends and changes to the numbers of deaths have been taken into account.

Chris Farmelo, Legacy Foresight‘s Technical Director, said:

“Ongoing delays caused by the introduction of the new structure and processes at HMCTS have been affecting legacy income and bequest figures for the past 9 months, which we’ve highlighted in Legacy Monitor quarterly bulletins throughout the year.

“Once the backlog is cleared, charities can expect a significant boost to bequest numbers to compensate for the shortfall in bequests experienced this year. For Legacy Monitor Consortium members specifically, who make up over 50% of the legacy market overall, this increase looks to be substantial; estimated at around 24% higher in October to December than would otherwise have been the case.”

Overall, legacy income for the Consortium has continued to hold up although there are signs that growth is slowing, with quarter-on-quarter growth of only 0.2% between 2019 Q2 and 2019 Q3.

Farmelo added:

“Near-term prospects for legacy income remain uncertain, depending upon on how rapidly the backlog at probate can be unwound and the impact of the general election on the nature of the UK’s future relationship with the EU. However, the period 2021-2024 is expected to see stronger growth in key economic variables, which combined with an underlying rise in the number of deaths, will generate legacy income growth of nearly 4% per annum.”


Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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