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Charities receive boost from legacies

Charities have experienced a strong rise in the income they receive from legacies, according to new research that has been welcomed by Thursfields Solicitors.

There has been an average growth rate of 10% in UK charities’ legacy income according to the ten-year research report entitled ‘The UK Legacy Fundraising Market 2019’, published this month by Remember A Charity.

Katherine Ellis, one of the lead lawyers on Thursfields’ Charity Law team, explained the report was based on the analysis of legacy income to over 1,100 UK fundraising charities, with annual legacy income of £2.23 billion.

She said it revealed new and smaller charities were increasingly benefiting from legacies, while overseas aid, environmental and services charities were also gaining ground in the market.

Ms Ellis, who is a senior associate solicitor at Thursfields’ Birmingham office, said: “This is an excellent and detailed report that shows how public preferences are changing in terms of the types of organisations people are naming in their wills.

“Not only are new and smaller charities increasingly benefitting from legacies, but favoured causes are also changing with religious charities losing ground and a greater inclusion of environmental and services charities.

“The research shows the long-term trends of legacy income and shows it is a resilient form of giving, as legacies even made a strong recovery following the recession.”

She said the research highlighted how legacies are a vital and ever-growing income stream for charities. She pointed out that charities already relying heavily on legacy giving need to ensure they are maximising such gifts, while those not currently pro-active regarding gifts in wills and the legacies they receive needed to be.

Ms Ellis, who previously specialised in legacy law for a large national charity in London, added: “Thursfields can provide advice and support on how to approach and grow income from this sector. We know what charities’ legal duties are with regard to legacy income, how to maximise the value of legacies they do receive, and any other legacy issues which may arise, whilst also ensuring charities maintain a positive image.”

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