2024 promises to be a year where legacies have their place in the sun

January 10, 2024

If it’s not too late, I want to start by wishing a Happy New Year to all our members, directors, partners, colleagues and wider supporters.

Looking ahead, I thought this would be the perfect time to take out the proverbial crystal ball and share some of my thoughts about what 2024 is likely to have in store.

While I can’t guarantee a 100% success rate, I truly believe this will be the year when legacy giving comes out of the shadows and achieves the recognition it deserves.

A time when charities embrace legacies as a key building block of their fundraising strategy in a way they haven’t always done in the past; and, that talking about the benefits of leaving a legacy to charity becomes more a part of everyday conversation.

Within the legal profession, there are signs that wills and probate is now (finally) being seen as one of the more interesting and dynamic areas of work. Welcome news indeed.

All this focus is likely to bring increased scrutiny and, however uncomfortable it may feel at first, it is something we mustn’t shy away from. At ILM, we are committed to embracing this new era and grasping these opportunities with both hands.

2024 also signals a wider set of challenges.

Political posturing ahead of the expected election may see changes (or even the abolition) of Inheritance Tax (IHT). While widely seen as a ‘vote-winner’, we are working hard to support Remember a Charity in making the case for the charitable exemption to continue as a key driver of legacy giving.

Another unknown is how the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will filter down into our profession. Personally, I believe that human understanding, intuition and that ‘gut feel’ we get when we know something isn’t quite right, will continue to trump AI, so let’s say we are keeping a watching brief.

Among many positive changes, the number of legacy notifications is rising and figures from the Probate Registry are steadily improving, which in turn should see more legacies coming through. Long may that continue.

A move towards electronic wills is likely to progress, something we continue to keep an eye on; and we welcome the renewed focus on the vital role that secure will storage and registration plays in protecting the interests of legators.

We are fortunate to enjoy excellent relationships with many professional and governmental organisations and, alongside strengthening existing partnerships, during 2024 we will be reaching out to engage with new partners to share our expertise and influencing skills more widely.

Upskilling and supporting our members is another of our key mandates and you will be pleased to hear our training review is well underway – encompassing both the CiCLA qualification and webinars and factsheets – making sure an already excellent programme of activities will be better than ever.

I would personally like to thank board member Fiona Webster, and her colleagues Natalie Mason and Jessica Bishop at the British Heart Foundation, for the review they undertook of every single webinar and factsheet we have ever produced. This monumental piece of work produced a number of brilliant suggestions that will enable our members to access content more easily, and we will be rolling these out in 2024.

We know we are all very lucky to be part of such a wonderful community and I am constantly amazed by the way you support each other too, whether that be by volunteering as mentors or spontaneously setting up your own networking groups to help each other. Thank you.

If I had one wish for 2024, it would be that I could meet every single member face-to-face. I know that time and travel mean it is unlikely to be fulfilled, but I mean it most genuinely when I say that I love all our members and together you all make my role as CEO such a joy.

I am proud to represent you all and I love nothing better than hearing your personal stories about the work you do and the differences you are all making. I could ask for no better motivation and I can’t wait to see what the year ahead has in store for us all.

With sincere good wishes for a successful and fruitful 2024.

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