What is happening to legacies in the downturn?

The latest data from the Legacy Foresight’s Legacy Monitor service (which benchmarks 38 of the UK’s leading charities, who together account for 56% of the legacies market) has shown that in the mid "noughties" the legacy sector enjoyed healthy growth. Between Q1 2004 and Q1 2008, legacy income grow by one third - from £658m to £877m. However, the latest data confirm that the economic crisis is taking its toll. In the 12 months to March 2009, legacy income across the Legacy Monitor Consortium fell by £21m - or 2.4%. The rate of decline is gradually accelerating. Income in the latest quarter (Q1 09) was 5% down on Q1 08. In contrast, this time last year, legacy income was growing by almost 15%. The drop in legacy income is primarily caused by a decline in residual bequest values, driven by plummeting house prices and share prices. Over the 12 months to March 2009 the average residual bequest was worth £52,700, down from £55,700 in the year to March 2008. Unfortunately, the full impact of the recession has yet to be fully reflected in these figures. From market peak to trough, Legacy Foresight expect to see legacy incomes decline by up to 10%.

Graph showing growth in legacy income

average residual request value

Previous results

The Q1 2009 Legacy Foresight data had shown a legacy income growth of 1.7% in the 12 months to December 2008, compared to 10.3% in the same period last year. It also showed that across the consortium as a whole, legacy notifications had been growing by 2.2% year on year.

For more information on the Legacy Monitoring service, email Meg Abdy, Director of Legacy Foresight, or contact her via her profile.

Last updated at 12:54 Thu 11/Jun/09.
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