Legacy giving is on the increase in Belgium, according to figures from the legacy barometer 2018, conducted by HOGENT and testament.be.
The barometer surveyed 121 Belgian non-profit organisations of various sizes and causes that received bequests in 2018. It found that altogether they raised a total of €205 million through legacies, with each, on average, receiving a fifth of their total income this way.
A quarter of the organisations (30) surveyed received legacy income through the duo legacy system, which sees charities pay the inheritance tax for the Will’s other beneficiary. In 2018, a record total of €31 million was received through duo legacies. Together, the barometer shows that these organisations collected an average of 40% of their legacy income through duo legacies, with a third of them collecting 100% through this system.
The barometer also examined the challenges for organisations in handling legacy income and found that 30% experience difficulties. Challenges include delays due to the fact that several legatees are involved, disagreement from the family, notary hold ups, legacy complexity, issues with tax authorities, the requirement to pay inheritance tax before revenues are paid, and insufficient know-how and staffing levels in the organisation to cope with the administrative requirements.
In terms of how organisations communicate with individuals about legacy giving, 75% communicate with prospective testators through their website, making this the most popular communication channel. This is followed by flyer and/or brochures (63%), and individual conversations (60%).
The research shows that effective use of legacy communications results in higher bequests. Members of testament.be (54%) collected the highest total amounts, while 13% received legacies without producing any legacy communications. However, these organisations receive significantly fewer bequests with the barometer recommending therefore that charities invest in legacy communications.
The full report can be accessed from the Hogent site.
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