Probate Delays Blamed For Fall In Charity Bequest Notifications

Legacy Foresight’s latest bulletin has revealed a reduction in charity bequest notifications due to probate delays and changes to the legacy notification system.

Britain’s charity data analysts of the legacy and in-memory sectors found that there was a 7% fall in the number of bequest notifications to charities in the year to June 2019 compared with the previous year.

However, the data also showed that income from legacies increased by 4.3% to £1.54bn in spite of economic uncertainty.

A spokesperson for Legacy Foresight said:

“Despite the acute Brexit-based uncertainties, our 80 Legacy Monitor members’ legacy incomes climbed by 4.3 per cent over the past 12 months.

“We believe that this growth is due to some exceptionally large bequests reported by some members.”

HMCTS plan to clear the backlog by the end of the summer regarding probate applications. They confirmed they are getting on top of the situation and working to get back to business as usual. With this in mind, Legacy Foresight expects the number of bequests to return to normal levels by their next report.

However, The Law Society and representatives from Solicitors for the Elderly and Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners are continually keeping the pressure on HMCTS over probate issues – and will be attending a follow-up meeting on the 10th September in London.

The Institute of Legacy Management, Remember a Charity and Institute of fundraising are monitoring the situation carefully as the Institute of Legacy Management’s CEO, Matthew Lagden is conducting a survey to establish the impact on their members to fathom the criticalness of the situation.

Matthew Lagden said:

“ILM is aware from our charity members that delays in issuing Grants of Probate has led to a fall in the number of notifications that are being received. This will inevitably lead to a short-term fall in legacy income for some of our charity members at a time when charity incomes generally are under pressure. We spoke to HMCTS earlier in the summer when they assured us that they were working hard to resolve the issues and clear the backlog.

“We are working closely with other sector and professional bodies such as Remember a Charity and the Law Society Wills and Probate Section to monitor the issue and press for a resolution. If the issues are not resolved by the end of August we will be seeking a meeting with HMCTS to raise our concerns.”

Despite doubts over Brexit, continued turbulent economy, probate delays, and disruption with the legacy notification service, legacy Foresight statistics show legacy income has still reached a record high.


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