The Certificate in Charity Legacy Administration is the UK’s only accredited legacy qualification.

ILM’s Certificate in Charity Legacy Administration, known as CiCLA, was developed by ILM in partnership with the University of Law. As the only nationally accredited legacy qualification in the UK, ILM believes this qualification will allow you to achieve your full potential.

The course is distance-learning so it can be undertaken at your own pace, when and where you like. Course materials consist of a pack of written materials divided into six units.  Each unit includes a set of self-assessment exercises to help you set the work in a practical context.

Assessments will be held at regular intervals (three times a year) and will assess at three levels:  After Units 1 & 2, after Units 3 & 4 and after the final two units, Units 5 & 6.

Our CiCLA students are always offered a mentor to help support them throughout their studies, and we have recently launched a mentoring platform to make this process even better. The platform enables ILM to match up students with a suitable mentor to help them with their studies, and enable them to liaise with one another in an easy and convenient way. Find out much more here.

Key dates for 2024 (assessments and revision sessions) onwards can be found by clicking here.

Guide for new students

Why study CiCLA?

The Certificate in Charity Legacy Administration gives legacy professionals a real advantage in their career and helps organisations to improve their effectiveness in managing their legacy income.

CiCLA qualifications give you

  • Flexibility – CiCLA is a distance learning programme and as such it can be taken at your own pace and fitted around a busy schedule.
  • Course materials – consist of a comprehensive pack of written materials, and self-assessment tools to help you evaluate your learning as you progress.
  • Professional recognition – the CiCLA qualification is an approved standard of achievement recognised by employers and increases your career progression opportunities.

Benefits to employers

  • Motivated and qualified staff – provides career development which improves staff retention
  • Evaluation of present information – an understanding of the processes, applicability and usefulness of general principles to specific situations in your organisation
  • Positive quality culture – equip your organisation with quality legacy professionals.

The Units are

  • First Steps after Death
  • Establishing Entitlement
  • The Grant
  • Powers and Duties of Personal Representatives
  • Estate Accounts
  • Particular Problems for Legacy Officers

The course materials also include

  • An appendix containing specimen letters and paragraphs to illustrate best practice and notes regarding entitlement under Scots Law.
  • A glossary of terms

Course Registration

Click here to book your place on the course. The cost is £950, payable in advance. There is no further fee for assessment. VAT is not applicable. 

Please note, you must be an ILM member to enroll.

You can also click here to register for your next assessment and for our revision sessions.

At the end of the course you will:

  • Be aware of the procedural steps which are taken when a person dies
  • Understand the significance of a grant of representation
  • Recognise the matters which may make a will invalid
  • Be able to distinguish assets which pass under a will from assets which pass independently of a will
  • Recognise the circumstances in which a member of the deceased’s family or dependants can challenge a will
  • Be able to read a will and understand the effect of its main provisions
  • Be aware of the powers and duties of executors of a will and the rights of beneficiaries
  • Have an understanding of Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax, and how charities’ exemptions can be effectively used to increase benefit
  • Understand the function of estate accounts and be able to read a simple set
  • Be aware of the ways in which it is possible to challenge a solicitor’s bill
  • Be aware of the circumstances in which it is possible to vary a will
  • Be aware of a number of common issues that arise for beneficiary charities, such as ex-gratia claims and compromising legal claims.


I have found the knowledge gained from the course invaluable, as I started in Legacy Administration with no previous Legacy or probate knowledge and learnt everything I know on the job. CiCLA provided me with a much better understanding of legacies and estate administration and being able to study at home in my own time was perfect for me. The materials are easy to use and refer back to, and the study sessions were extremely helpful before the assessments. The support is fantastic, and I have really enjoyed doing this course. It’s definitely worthwhile doing whether you’ve been working with Legacies 1 year or 5! I still refer back to the reference materials as they as so useful to have.

Lauren Wilcox

Senior Legacy Officer, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)

I don’t have a legal background, so I thought it would be useful to take the course. I wanted to stay in the Legacy Administration sector and it’s a key qualification to have. It has really broadened my knowledge and clarified key areas of the law. Most legacy roles ask for CiCLA as a qualification – having it will be great for my CV and it will help my legacy career greatly. It is an excellent foundation to have – I have found it extremely useful as it has put the facts into context.

Samantha Jackson


I was interested in gaining a better understanding of the legacy administration process, as my current role focuses on the marketing and relationship management side of legacies. At a networking event attended by other ILM members I was recommended the CiCLA qualification.

I would highly recommend the course to those new to legacy administration (or simply want to understand the process in its entirety like me), but equally to those who are already involved in the process. In terms of the latter, it is a great way of re-confirming your knowledge.

Viet-Anh Hua,

Development Manager (Legacies), LSE Advancement, London School of Economics and Political Science

I would definitely recommend this course. It has really boosted my confidence in my subject matter and I can  use the materials for reference even after the course. The revision sessions were daunting at first but I had a fantastic mentor, Jane, who ensured I was on the right path and helped me if I was unsure of any areas.

Rosalyn Leclercq

Legacy Officer, Essex Wildlife Trust

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the course take?
This depends on you! The course can be completed in nine months, but because it is based on distance learning, you can work at a speed which fits in with your other commitments. The course must be completed within three years of the start date.
When can I start the course?
Whenever you like. You may enrol on the course at any time – whenever suits you best.
What qualification do I need to enrol?

The only qualification you need is to be a member of the Institute of Legacy Management, which offers you a wide range of services and benefits.

When do I have to undertake the assessments?
Again, this is entirely up to you. There are three assessment periods a year at all three levels (usually in February, June and October) and CiCLA students will be notified of these ahead of time and asked whether they would like to sit an exam.
What backup and support will I get?
We appreciate that when enrolling on a distance learning course, one of the concerns students have is where to go for help. Once you have enrolled on the course, you will be allocated a mentor who will be an experienced Legacy Officer or one of ILM’s Corporate Partners.

Your mentor will be available for the duration of the course and will be able to discuss any issues you may be having, further explain problem areas and generally provide moral support.

Is there a student network so I can contact other students?
Networking between Legacy Officers is to be positively encouraged! Indeed, it was one of the major motivations in setting up ILM in the first place. CiCLA students keep in touch with each other and provide valuable mutual support. Mentors will encourage students to contact each other and discuss topical issues. You will also be able to communicate with your fellow students using the CiCLA discussion forum on the members’ area of the website.
Will I need to buy any text books?
No. The course is designed to be fully self-contained. Should you wish to do further reading, your mentor will be able to suggest books and articles which may be of interest. Although the course itself could never replace a good reference library, it is designed to be a frame of reference for the future. ILM also publishes a series of factsheets which you may find useful. These are available in the members’ area of the website.
Can I see any previous assessment papers?
Because of the need of ILM to maintain a large bank of questions, we do not make available assessment questions.
What coursework will I be expected to do?
None! There are questions at the end of each unit which you can use to test your own knowledge but there is no formal coursework requirement.
Will I need to attend tuition sessions?
No. There is no mandatory attendance required as part of the Certificate in Charity Legacy Administration. We run optional revision classes for levels 2 and 3 and you may find it useful to attend some of the other courses on the ILM training programme.
How much does the course cost?
The course is £950 (VAT is not applicable). This is payable in advance by bank transfer or by cheque. Details of who to pay can be found at the bottom of the CiCLA invoice.
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