Charity legacy income expected to break records amid probate backlog reduction

The Institute of Legacy Management reports a significant surge in new legacies received by charities, marking a potential record-breaking year for legacy income.

According to their findings, the probate backlog has been substantially reduced by “at least 10,000” over the past six months.

Legacy Foresight, a consortium in the field, highlighted in November that around £900 million in legacy fundraising was entangled in the backlog. Cancer Research UK has also faced financial adjustments, redirecting funds from capital investment due to delays.

As of January, the backlog of probate applications dropped to 56,487 from 67,024 in October, with a notable increase in issued grants observed month-on-month, according to Matthew Lagden, CEO of ILM. He said:

“Anecdotally, our member charities tell us that since the beginning of 2024, the number of new legacies being received has increased dramatically, which is great news. This money is vitally important to charities, both in terms of funding capital projects and paying for day-to-day activities.

Knowing that over the course of this year, millions of pounds worth of legacy income will be released is exactly the boost they need at a time when they are having to dig deeper than ever to keep services running.”

The ILM predicts that the sector is on track to surpass last year’s record of £4 billion in legacy income. The six-month period leading up to January saw 141,126 probate applications, with 153,770 grants issued during this time

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