Legal firms could "quadruple" legacy income growth, McClure Solicitors says
In the 12 months leading up to June 2019, market analyst Legacy Foresight reported a legacy income growth of 4.3 per cent among its 80 Legacy Monitor members.
The members, which represent about half the charity legacy market, provided £1.54 billion in income.
Legacy Foresight said that the "surprise" growth came amid pre-Brexit turbulence and delays at the probate registries.
It said: " This strong growth is surprising given the recent slowdown in key economic variables".
Legacy Foresight had previously said that legacy income growth had been slowing since 2013 due to factors such as falling house prices and slow economic growth.
It had forecast growth in legacy income of around two to three per cent over the next five years due to relatively poor economic growth and rising death rates, conducting its analysis on the basis of a Brexit withdrawal agreement being reached with the EU.
A Legacy Foresight spokesperson says that the organisation believes the increase is down to "some exceptionally large bequests reported by some members".
Yet, McClure Solicitors, a Glasgow-based legal firm which featured as a best practice representative in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review, operates under a business model that, if adopted more widely in the legal industry, could "quadruple" this growth, according to its managing director, Andrew Robertson.
In the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review, Robertson wrote how he took the decision back in 1984 to adapt the now 166-year-old practice's business model, by providing a free will service in return for a donation to a charity of the client's choice.
The setup, which Robertson describes as "unique" in the UK, has enabled the firm to raise £30 million per year, with the free will scheme bringing in an additional 900 clients monthly.
Its aim, Robertson wrote, is "to raise £500,000 in cash for charities and £50 million in legacies for a full year".
Already, as Robertson points out, "one in four" McClure free will clients leaves a legacy for charity, around four times more than the UK average.
He adds that "if every will writer, whether solicitor or non-solicitor, achieved that, legacy income for charities would quadruple", helping them "do more good work, taking some financial pressure off government.
"Other solicitor companies may begin to try to emulate us, but we are happy with that, as the market is so large that there is plenty of room for multiple players."