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Record number of solicitors now raising legacies with clients

Record number of solicitors now raising legacies with clients

A tracking study commissioned by Remember A Charity has revealed that record numbers of solicitors and Will writers are now bringing up the subject of legacies with their clients.

The study, carried out by Future Thinking, shows that the percentage has risen from 58% in  2012, to 68% today. This is the percentage that say they always or sometimes raise the topic with clients, while almost one quarter (24%) occasionally raise it, and just 7% say they never do: down from more than twice that (16%) in 2012.

On average, advisers report that 20% of the Wills they deal with annually contain a charitable bequest, having risen steadily from 16% in 2012. 85% of the legal firms in the study had assisted in administering estates that included a legacy.

Rob Cope, Director of Remember A Charity, said:

“Over the years, we’ve seen a marked change in the way that advisers are approaching gifts in Wills with clients. Legacy giving is becoming more common across the client base, and there’s much less reticence when it comes to raising the topic of charitable giving.

“Increasingly, advisers now see discussions about gifts in Wills as part and parcel of offering a comprehensive service to clients, and this can make a huge difference to the number of people that choose to give in this way, which is why working with advisers is such a key part of our strategy.”

For the first time, the tracking study also explored the reasons for and barriers against opening up legacy giving conversations with clients. Advisors that always raise the topic said they typically do so because it is part of their standard Will-writing process or because they want to alert clients to the tax breaks linked to writing a gift into their Will. Legacy gifts to charity are currently exempt from Inheritance Tax (charged at 40%), and a lower rate of tax (36%) is applicable on estates where 10% or more is donated.

The most common barrier for not always mentioning legacy giving is that clients have already made clear their intentions, such as wanting their family and friends to be sole beneficiaries.

Cope added:

“Clearly, there’s much further to go before legacy giving becomes a social norm and every adviser feels comfortable and confident about raising the conversation with clients. We’ll be working more closely with the legal sector in the coming months to encourage greater consistency in the way that advisers approach gifts in Wills with clients and to provide resources that help them do so.”

Remember A Charity is now working with the legal sector to develop a new suite of materials to help to bring greater consistency and demonstrate best practice for the way that advisors can reference charitable giving with clients.

 

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 www.thepurplepim.com.

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