A day in the life of a Charity Legacy Officer

November 16, 2023

I had the recent pleasure of speaking with Rebecca Gray, a Senior Legacy Officer from Age UK, and Paul Browne, the Head of Legacy Admin at Legacy Link, as part of our Podcast series, IDR Talk.

Listen to the podcast. 

We invited Rebecca and Paul along to our series as we wanted to learn more about the role they fulfil for charities and whether, when the gloves are off, they actually like their jobs – spoiler alert, they really really do!

During our discussion we talked about the role a Legacy Officer plays within a charity in enabling vital funds to be received in a timely manner, which can be the difference between a particular project or event being approved or dropped.

We also spoke about the sheer size of the legacy giving market, with Legacy Foresight noting the eye watering figure of £3.9 billion being gifted in Wills each year (Legacy giving – resilience in the face of adversity – Legacy Foresight). However, notwithstanding the size of this sum, there are worries in the charity sector that charity giving has stagnated, with the amount being gifted remaining stable, but this being against a growing market and inflation. All of which could cause trouble for the charity sector and the vital work they do.

We then touched upon the practical issues facing charities. With substantial delays in the probate registry, and Court delays for those unlucky enough to be caught up within a dispute.

As to disputes, we covered a statistic provided by Matthew Lagdon (Chief Exec of the Institute of Legacy Management) during one of our previous IDR Talk podcasts, that around 5% of charity legacies were caught up on a dispute. Rebecca and Paul felt that despite it only being a year or so since that initial discussion, the reality is that these disputes are on the rise, and that they have the ability to severely impact the work a charity can do.

And no podcast on charity disputes would be complete without a least one mention of the “Inheritance Wars” programmes which have been on Channel 5 in recent months. That programme provided a rather more alarming statistic that three quarters of us will be involved in an estate dispute in our lifetime. Now while I hope my involvement in such disputes will be limited to the work I do to help resolve them, the reality is that none of us can predict with certainty when or how we may get caught up in a dispute – and for a charity, such predictions are even harder, with them very rarely knowing the person leaving them the legacy.

This then got us talking about the Charity Claim Checker created by IDR Law, and the help it can provide to charities in assessing the strength of any estate claim they may be involved in. Both Rebecca and Paul had provided key user testing as part of the build and were kind enough to provide complimentary feedback on the help they expect it will be able to bring. The charity claim checker can now be found on the IDRN or the ILM website.

You can listen to the full podcast here