Legacy bequest spike expected in 2021

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Next year, there might be a spike in charitable bequests left in Wills, according to legacy experts.

Fundraising.co.uk reports that Legacy Foresight attributes the possible spike to 2020’s high death rate and delays in probate in its Legacy Market Outlook 2020-2025.

According to the article on the website, UK deaths are potentially at their highest in 100 years, with the possibility they might reach between 687,000 and 695,000. The ongoing administrative delays in probate are the other factor.

Fewer bequests in 2021

However, 2020 legacy giving was affected this year, with members of the Legacy Monitor benchmarking consortium receiving about 20 percent fewer bequests than expected between January and September 2020.

In addition, cash legacy income was also 8 percent lower for May-September compared to 2019, while across the charity sector this is expected to be 11 percent lower by the end of 2020 compared to 2019.

But as income flows from the expected increases next year, charity bequests could end up 37 to 50 percent higher in 2021, compared to this year. The volume of bequests might rise, but the average value of bequests could fall as the economic downturn affects house prices.

Five-year outlook remains ‘positive’

Legacy Foresight says the five-year outlook remains positive. The organisation predicts that legacy incomes will grow by about 6-16 percent by 2025 (between £3.6bn and £4bn). It also says that there could be about 10 percent more charitable bequests over the five years, compared to the previous five years.

Jon Franklin, economist at Legacy Foresight, said the biggest issue for charities expecting legacy incomes at the moment was the impact of probate delays. Should this backlog clear up, then legacy bequests might peak next year, and charities needed to be in a position to cope with the demand.

Rob Cope, the director of Remember A Charity, added that charities needed a record number of chartable bequests to cope with the loss in funding many had experienced in 2020. Legacy fundraising, he said, would be more important than ever for charities to help them strengthen their resilience in the years ahead.

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