Charities will raise £12.5bn from legacies in the next five years, says Legacy Foresight's Meg Abdy

The director of the consortium tells the Institute of Legacy Management that the outlook is strong, partly because the absolute number of deaths is going to rise from 2018

Meg Abdy
Meg Abdy

Charities will raise £12.5bn in legacy income over the next five years, according to Meg Abdy, director of the charity legacy consortium Legacy Foresight.

Speaking last week at the Institute of Legacy Management’s annual conference in London, Abdy said that the overall outlook for the next five years of legacy fundraising was very strong.

"The economy is buoyant and deaths are going to rise towards the end of the period, which will have a positive effect on legacies," she said.

Abdy said Legacy Foresight’s latest quarterly data showed that the 76 members of its consortium, which together account for 54 per cent of the charity legacies market, received combined legacy income of £1.24bn in the 12 months to March – a rise of 5.4 per cent on the same period last year.

Growth has slowed since the last quarter, when Legacy Foresight reported a 9.8 per cent rise in year-on-year income.

Abdy said this was partly due to a cooling housing market: in the fourth quarter of 2014, house prices rose by 10 per cent, whereas in the first quarter of this year they are estimated to have risen by 7.7 per cent.

Abdy said Legacy Foresight expected UK house prices to grow by 4.3 per cent in 2015 and 2.6 per cent in 2016. She said the election of a Conservative government had removed the risk that some of the Labour Party’s "anti-fat cat" policies – such as the mansion tax, a tax on bank profits and the removal of non-dom status – would cause house prices to fall.

In a statement published alongside Legacy Foresight’s latest figures, issued yesterday, Abdy said the issue of legacies over the coming months would probably be dominated by the fallout from the general election.

"The Conservatives’ surprise victory will have a significant impact on the economic and legal factors that drive legacy values," she said. "We believe that – on balance – a single party Tory government will have a positive effect on legacy values by boosting the house prices and share prices that underpin them."

She told delegates at the conference last week that it was too early to say what impact greater devolution to Scotland would have, but it could result in Scottish people becoming more loyal to local causes.

She said that the absolute number of deaths would start rising in 2018 so that by 2025 the figure would be 3 per cent higher than now and 11 per cent higher by 2030.

Abdy said that charities operating in "contemporary cause areas" such as international development, the environment and medical conditions were reporting the fastest growth in their legacy programmes, with armed forces charities – such as the consortium’s three new entrants this year: Help for Heroes, Blesma and the Royal British Legion – representing the fastest-growing segment of all.

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