“We’re listening” say legacy managers

The Institute of Legacy Management (ILM), a membership and training body for those working in legacy teams across the charity sector, says it is ‘reassured’ by the response to a recent sentiment survey of probate practitioners, and reaffirmed its commitment to using feedback to shape future guidance for members.

A readership survey conducted in conjunction with Today’s Wills and Probate asked those who regularly dealt with charities in the administration of estates for their views on the processes that work well, and those that could be improved. More than half of respondents said their experiences were either very or somewhat positive, while just over a quarter said they were somewhat or very negative. The remainder of respondents took a neutral view.

The ILM is a not-for-profit membership organisation offering specialised training and support to legacy professionals within the charity and not-for-profit sectors. It has more than 700 members, the majority of whom are legally qualified, representing some 400 charities – both large and small – as well as not-for-profit organisations and associated professions. Commenting on the results of the survey, ILM CEO Matthew Lagden, says

“We want to say a big thank you to both TW&P and all those probate professionals who took the time to complete the survey, providing insight and constructive comments into their dealings with charity legacy officers. We were greatly reassured by the largely positive feedback but we recognise there is always more that can be done to further improve our relationship with the sector. We are listening to what you say and this gives us a very strong platform from which to continue to build and invest in our member training, with a particular emphasis on guidance around good communications and respect for all parties.”

Among the top takeaways was that probate professionals dealing with multiple charity beneficiaries said there are major benefits to having a lead charity – providing they all agree on a joint course of action, a message that Matthew says will be reinforced to members. Positive comments said ‘legacies officers are very approachable’, they ‘tend to understand the administration process better than lay beneficiaries’, and are ‘professional and knowledgeable’. Others however, said ‘some legacy managers … can be rather bullish and aggressive’, ‘they quibble about fees, often rude and demanding’ and are ‘constantly seeking updates’.

“The feedback and comments – both positive and negative – will be incorporated into new member guidance, further helping us as we strive to create greater understanding for the greater benefit of everyone involved in the charity legacy journey.”

Adds Lagden. Other comments highlighted the need to improve communication (email was preferred), introducing standard service level agreements and having agreed named contact points and timelines, a ‘better attitude’, charities being quicker to respond, more consideration and respect for those carrying out the administration process; and greater appreciation of the fact that the administration of an estate takes time and money.


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