Debate: Are living legacies just a 'spurious distraction' for the charity sector?

Joe Saxton of nfpSynergy told the Growing Giving inquiry that the sector should focus instead on normal legacies

Joe Saxton
Joe Saxton

Rob Cope is chief executive of Remember A Charity

Rob CopeThe idea of living legacies isn't a bad one, but we know through our extensive work with the public that many people - and some charities - already find legacies too complex. The third sector needs to be selective about what it asks of government.

Legacies already generate about £2bn a year from only 6 per cent of deaths. Our work with the Cabinet Office proves that timely prompts could triple the number of legacy gifts that are given. Pressing the government to focus on helping us to make legacy giving the social norm will produce a far greater return.

Hannah Terrey is head of policy and campaigns at the Charities Aid Foundation

Hannah TerreyLiving legacies are not a distraction, nor would they compete with traditional legacy gifts. Almost three in five people say they would rather give to charity while they are alive than in their wills. Living legacies allow baby boomers with disposable income to give to a cause and still retain the security of a regular income. Living legacies should be introduced now, so that fundraisers and advisers have another helpful tool at their disposal. We could then get on with encouraging more charitable giving, rather than continuing to debate this subject.

Sue Daniels is executive director of Philanthropy Impact

Sue DanielsThe UK needs a planned giving structure that will encourage the mass affluent to give more. Living legacies are the best mechanism to stimulate giving and transform the sector. They could generate about £400m in assets and income each year for charity. People often say they don't want to give because they are worried about their own financial security; living legacies could remove this barrier. We have a simple model that can be applied easily to UK tax structures, reducing government fears of abuse and avoiding complex valuation of assets.

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