Welcoming Matthew Lagden To The Awards Judging Panel

We are delighted to welcome Chief Executive of the Institute of Legacy Management (ILM), Matthew Lagden, to the judging panel for the upcoming exclusive British Wills and Probate Awards, which is brought to you by Today’s Wills and Probate, alongside headline sponsor, Arken.legal (UK) Ltd, a leader in software solutions for the legal services industry.

Matthew joined ILM as CEO in July 2018. With many years’ experience in fundraising and legacies, Matthew has most recently worked as Director of Fundraising at St Paul’s Cathedral, and prior to joining St Paul’s, Matthew worked for a number of major charities including Action for Children, the Stroke Association and the British Heart Foundation.

In this interview, he discusses what sparked his interest in legacy management, what he will be looking for in relation to entries, the key main challenges the industry is facing, as well as outlining how Wills and probate professionals can support the legacy management process.

Please could you provide us with a summary of your professional background and your present role?

I have been working in the charity sector for 20 years, starting my charity career at the British Heart Foundation. Prior to that, I worked in legal publishing, firstly for Sweet & Maxwell and then for a small publisher specialising in European Competition Law. Before joining ILM I was Director of Development at St Paul’s Cathedral for five years. As Chief Executive of the Institute of Legacy Management, it is my job to ensure that we support and represent our 600 members (who work for about 340 charities ranging from CRUK to small local charities), both to other professional groups and to the charity sector as a whole.

What initially sparked your interest in legacy management?

I interviewed for a job in the fundraising department at the British Heart Foundation, for which I came second, but they said that there was a vacancy in the legacy management team which might interest me. I took the job and was immediately hooked! It is endlessly fascinating and challenging, and of course, it is deeply satisfying to be part of a process which raises so much money for deserving charities.

As a judge of the British Wills and Probate Awards, what will you be looking for in relation to the entries? What will make them stand out from the rest?

I will be looking for a commitment to all-round excellence and, of course, a commitment to serving the community. 

How important do you think it is to recognise outstanding achievement and highlight progression in the sector?

At the ILM we know that the extra commitment and diligence that the best executors bring to the process can save money and maximise the size of legacies for all beneficiaries. Across the country there are firms of Will writers and solicitors who are going the extra mile for charities, taking part in Will writing schemes, suggesting that clients include a gift to charity in their Will, and raising money for charities in other ways. We think this is fantastic, it is brilliant that the British Wills and Probate Awards recognise this excellence, and ILM is really grateful to be part of it.

What do you think is the main key challenges the industry is facing at present?

ILM believes that Will writing and estate administration is an undervalued skill. A well-drafted Will is one of the most important documents that anyone can have, and a diligent and effective professional executor can make a huge difference to the experience that surviving family members have at an extremely stressful time.

How can Wills and Probate professionals help support/strengthen the legacy management process to ensure every donor’s charitable legacy achieves its potential?

ILM believes that a co-operative attitude between executors and charities can make a huge positive difference to all parties involved in an administration. The vast majority of professional executors do a fantastic job, and our members constantly report examples of fantastic behaviour to us, so our goal is to facilitate this and say a big thank you to everyone involved.

The British Wills and Probate Awards will take place on the 17th October at the prestigious Belfry Hotel and Resort in Birmingham, where the array of category winners will be announced and celebrated.

For information on this year’s categories and which ones best represent your business, please click here. Furthermore, bookings for this ‘not to be missed’ event are open here where you will find information and pricing for individual tickets and whole tables of twelve. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to showcase your firm or fellow professionals and to be in with a chance to win an accolade for high achievements within the industry.

You can also be part of the awards! If you’re looking for a unique way to boost your company’s brand exposure by sponsoring an award, please email [email protected] for more information.

The event is key for the Wills and probate calendar, so if you work in the industry, make sure it’s in your diary!

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