At the Institute of Legacy Management, we were glad to see the recent article entitled ‘Solicitors “crucial” to charitable bequests’, discussing research carried out by the Behavioural Insights Team and the University of Bristol on behalf of Remember a Charity.
The research supports our long-held conviction that solicitor-legator interactions are a crucial part of the legacy puzzle.
Equally crucial, though, if solicitors are to feel motivated and confident in raising the issue of leaving money to charity, is the relationship between solicitors and charity legacy professionals. That is why so much of our work focuses on fostering positive working relationships between these groups. This new research shows the potential value of these relationships which, while working well on the whole, may not always be as smooth as they could be.
All attempts to further our understanding of the relationships that make up the legacy-giving process – this research included – are positive. We view this piece of work as a great starting point for further conversations and research still to be done to improve and strengthen the process for all involved.
We are currently developing good practice guidance to help us define and share the highest professional standards for those working in legacy management. Although our members have the best intentions, the guidance is intended to address issues that can be created by a lack of knowledge or understanding.
This, and other work being undertaken by Remember a Charity and the Law Society, among others, should help us ensure people are able to make informed choices about their legacies and that every charitable gift reaches its fullest potential.
Chris Millward, chief executive, Institute of Legacy Management, London E1