About Legacy Professionals

Wondering what a legacy professional does? Find out everything you need to know here…

What is a legacy professional?

Legacy professionals can be officers, administrators or managers that work for organisations – usually charities – that receive gifts in people’s wills.

Some organisations, such as larger charities, have whole teams of legacy professionals dealing with gifts that have been left to them in wills. Other smaller organisations might just have one part-time legacy professional working for them.

Why are legacies important?

Legacies are a hugely important source of income for charities and other not-for-profit organisations, and it is estimated that over £2.8billion is left to organisations in wills every year. At some charities, legacies make up a large, vital portion of their income. At Macmillan, for example, legacies account for about a third of overall income; at RSPCA, over half of their work is funded through legacies.

What does a legacy professional do?

Ultimately the key role of a legacy professional is to optimise legacy income for their charity. This can be complex in itself, as the legacy officer needs to be able to identify opportunities and possible cost savings, mitigate risk and also, of course, ensure that the donor’s final wishes are respected and achieve their greatest potential.

In order to successfully achieve the above, a legacy professional needs to fulfil a range of functions, and this is what makes the role so varied and valuable to a charity. They need to identify any possibly contentious issues such as fraud, mental capacity claims and so on, and they also need to ensure that all documentation relating to estates is dealt with correctly.

Legacy professionals therefore require a wide range of skills and knowledge, and one of ILM’s key aims is to help them achieve this, through both training and support.

Can anyone become a legacy professional?

There is no set route into legacy administration so the simple answer is yes! Whilst a number of people come from a legal background, others find paid roles via volunteering or internships.

ILM’s Essentials training is a key stepping stone into the world of legacy management, and it is also worth considering studying for CiCLA – the Certificate in Charity Legacy Administration – which has become the standard requirement for most positions within the sector.

Have a look at the legacy jobs listed on our website to get an idea of the experience required and the types of roles that are out there.

What will I get paid?

Salaries vary depending on the level of seniority and location, but the average starting salary for a legacy officer can be from around £25,000 upwards.

Where will the job take me?

Many legacy officers work for various charities and those who start as an officer at a smaller charity might find there are opportunities to move on to manage larger teams in the future.

Jargon Buster

There are lots of new terms you’ll come across straight away in your role, and our jargon buster will help you to understand immediately what these terms mean…

Beneficiary – a person or organisation, such as a charity, who benefits from a person’s will
Bequest – a gift left in a will
Pecuniary Gift – a legacy of a set amount of money, ie. £100
Residuary Gift – a share or all of the remainder of the estate once all the debts, funeral & testamentary expenses, and other legacies have been paid
Codicil – an addition or amendment to a will
Executor – a person or persons (this could be as solicitor or a friend, for example) who carries out the deceased’s wishes and ensures the estate is dealt with in accordance to the will
Estate – this is the value of everything that is owned by the deceased at the time of their death
Inheritance tax or IHT – this is a more complicated one! It refers to the tax on the value of a person’s estate after their death, minus any deductions or exemptions. This is a good place to find out more.
Intestacy – when a person dies without a will
Probate – the legal process by which an estate is dealt with

Why should I join ILM?

From free webinars and video training through to frequent industry updates and support, there are a wealth of reasons why legacy professionals should join ILM. You can find out much more here.