With figures showing a rise in enquiries about Will writing and updating during the pandemic, more interest is also being shown in online services.
The Law Society reported a 30% increase on the usual requests to create Wills back in March with online services also seeing more interest. Farewill for example saw twelve times more NHS workers using its online will service in the first few weeks of the pandemic and now offers free Wills to NHS staff, and Lincolnshire based St Barnabas Hospice ran its annual Make a Will Month scheme virtually last month to make it easier for people to participate during lockdown.
We're now offering a free will to all NHS staff. In the last few weeks, we've seen 12 times more NHS workers using our will service than usual, so we wanted to do our bit to help. Simply go to https://t.co/BvPe0O4dg4 and sign up with your NHS email address to claim a free will. pic.twitter.com/TKj9tZjZh4
— Farewill (@Farewill) April 2, 2020
Since launch, online Will writing company FREEWILLS.co.uk has helped people to leave £20 million pounds to over 500 charities, with gifts averaging between £5,000 and £10,000. Its free online service allows people to create a legally binding will in three steps. It is now urging more small charities to register on the site and to encourage their supporters to use its system, to help them build legacy income.
Managing Director Carl Christensen said:
“We know a lot of smaller charities would like to be able to help people leave money to them in their Wills, but they feel they don’t have the resources – we are here to help them.”
Other schemes to help both people and charities are also in the offing. Think tank New Philanthropy Capital recently proposed a scheme that would allow charities to receive legacy income earlier, enabling donors to see the impact of their gifts during their lifetimes.
Can you leave money in your will but still get to see the impact your gift makes in your own lifetime? It's an idea we've been testing, and we're looking for charities and funders interested in taking part in a pilot to explore the concept further. https://t.co/5rPpd1EQFH
— NPC (@NPCthinks) June 4, 2020
It has published a feasibility study into accelerated legacy plans: an idea developed by Anthony Bolton, Paul Spencer and Tom Skwarek, with advice from Bates Wells.
Such a plan would see a donor pledge a legacy to a charity of their choice, and borrow that amount from a funder, committing to pay it back on or just before their death. The funder would then advance the discounted value of that amount to the donor based on both their age and interest rates, and the donor would then donate that amount to the charity. This arrangement would also enable the charity to claim Gift Aid on the donation, and gain earlier access to money.
NPC is now seeking interested charities to take part in a pilot scheme.
According to Legacy Foresight, the sector could see legacy income drop by up to 9% this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with the worsening economy and delays in receiving notifications and sale of assets from estates due to the disruption to administrative processes affecting the market.
Recent research by fastmap and freestyle marketing however shows that people still consider legacy fundraising acceptable during the pandemic, with regular donors in particular feeling it was appropriate.
Earlier this year too, a consumer tracking study commissioned by Remember A Charity found that only 9% of charity donors aged 40+ reject the idea of leaving a charitable legacy, with over a quarter of this age group (27%) saying they have included a gift to charity in their Will or are preparing to – up from 21% in 2010.
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