Charities Minister asks solicitors to support legacy giving
Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, is this week promoting the value of supporting charities by leaving a charitable legacy. She is 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.
Her letter, which backs up Remember A Charity’s work with the legal sector, highlights 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 network of more than 1,100 Campaign Supporters who share a commitment to offer advice on gifts in Wills to clients.
Tracey Crouch MP 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.”
Why solicitors matter
Legacy income is currently worth more than £2.8 billion a year to UK charities. It is 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, according to Legacy Foresight.
The potential for solicitors to increase this is considerable. Research from the Behavioural Insights Team in 2016 shows that solicitors can treble the number of legacy gifts made simply by referencing the option of including a charity.
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.
“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.”
Many solicitors already remind clients of the option of leaving a charitable bequest. Annual promotional activity to the legal press and research by Remember A Charity has found that 72% of solicitors always or sometimes advise clients about the inheritance tax benefits of legacy giving. This has increased from 66% in 2015 and 61% in 2009.
Remember A Charity aims to increase the number of campaign supporters and for charity to become a standard inclusion within any conversation about Will-planning.
Photo: Tracey Crouch MP – The DCMS on Flickr.com