Legacy giving is crucial to charity sector - and it must be promoted

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Third sector consortium says action must be taken to make it easier for people to leave cash and assets to charities

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8th June 2017 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

The UK’s political parties have been urged to support and help grow legacy giving to build a stronger and more resilient charitable sector.

Alex McDowell, the chair of the sector’s legacy consortium, Remember A Charity, has written an open letter to the leaders of the main parties asking for action to be taken whatever the outcome of the general election.

He said: “No matter who is elected or which individuals make up our new parliament, government’s support in developing fiscal incentives and helping making legacy giving a social norm really is critical.

“Legacies are the largest single source of voluntary income and their growth is essential if we are to enable a stronger and more resilient charitable sector.

“We’ll continue to work with whoever forms the next government to enlist their support in creating the best possible environment to nurture and grow legacy giving.”

In the letter he highlights three government-led actions that would boost charitable gifts in wills, which include the development of a fiscal incentive to leave a charitable gift that would be eligible for all individuals, including those whose estates do not attract inheritance tax, encouraging all solicitors to provide charitable options during the will-writing process and designing employer incentives to promote charitable will-writing to staff and customers

Stressing the sector’s reliance on legacy giving, which contributes 12% of all UK voluntary income, the letter states that “many of the UK’s best loved charities would not be able to improve lives and communities without gifts in wills.”

It goes on to highlight the unmet potential of charitable bequests, with only 6.3% of the public currently giving through their will, despite over a third (35%) saying that they would be happy to do so.

The consortium is calling on party leaders to do ‘”even more to help the British public support the communities, causes and charities they passionately care about” by helping grow legacy giving.”