BWB’s Charity Legacies, Trusts & Probate Disputes team have been working on some interesting new cases, including a challenge to a will leaving a substantial sum of money to a charity where the charity has no trustees to defend the challenge. Highlights this month have also included advising on a tricky dispute over a property held on trust, and assisting a local governing body to obtain a scheme in relation to a charity established by will.
In this edition of Legacies Roundup, we take a look at some key developments in relation to how the courts are approaching poorly drafted wills, and consider how this may impact upon charity legacies. We also report back on last month’s interesting ILM conference, and take a look at the latest legacy income figures published by Legacy Foresight. You will also find details for our annual legacy event, as part of Remember A Charity Week.
A poorly drafted will?
Readers will know that, unfortunately, poorly drafted wills cause regular problems for charity beneficiaries.
Poor drafting can lead to uncertainty over who the testator intended to benefit in their will and what he intended them to receive. Executors of such wills may be obliged to apply to court for assistance in determining the correct interpretation (“construction”) of the will, or even an order that the will be amended (“rectification”).
We always advise our charity clients to encourage potential donors to have their wills professionally drafted to try to avoid such difficulties, but even that does not always solve the problem. A raft of recent cases involved wills drafted by solicitors, which fell well short of the standards expected.
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ILM Annual Conference 2016
Members of BWB’s Charity Legacies, Trusts & Probate Disputes team were delighted to attend this year’s ILM Annual Conference on 13 May 2016. We enjoyed meeting and talking to many of you there.
There were some very engaging speakers at the event. Perhaps one of the most important messages came from Chris Millward, the ILM’s chief executive, and Stephen Dunmore, interim chief executive of the new Fundraising Regulator.
Chris spoke of declining trust between solicitors and charities in probate situations, and how this could have a harmful knock-on effect on legacy giving. For example, there have been reports of perceived interference from some charities’ “overly zealous legacy administrators”, which is unfortunate at a time when charity fundraising is already under the microscope. At the conference, Chris reported that the ILM has been in talks with Remember A Charity about how best to address this issue, and will be developing its own code of practice for legacy administrators.
Stephen Dunmore spoke on behalf of the new Fundraising Regulator about the approach it intends to take to the regulation of fundraising and how this may affect legacy fundraisers and administrators.
We will keep our readers updated as these matters develop, including on the possibility of feeding into the various reviews and discussions, and our colleagues in BWB’s Charity and Social Enterprise team provide a useful weekly briefing on the wider changes to charity law and practice as and when they happen here.
Growth in legacy income
As predicted in April, figures published last month by Legacy Foresight show that in the 12 months to March 2016, legacy income received by consortium members was up 4.4% whilst notifications were up by 3.4%. Legacy Foresight’s 78 consortium members have reported an increase in the average value of residuary gifts of 0.5% (to £57,800), whilst average cash legacies have reached a record £3,900.
Legacy Foresight attributes these welcome growth figures to a “resilient property market and a modest recovery in share prices”. How the results of the forthcoming EU Referendum will impact on legacy income remains to be seen.
Save the date!
As part of Remember A Charity Week 2016, BWB’s Charity Legacies, Trusts & Probate Disputes team will be hosting our annual training session for charities on charity legacies 13 September 2016.
As ever, we are delighted to be supporting Remember A Charity’s annual awareness raising week, with a focus on encouraging people to remember their favourite charities when writing or updating their Will. This year’s Remember A Charity Week will take place from 12 to 18 September 2016.
Further details will follow, but if you would like more information in the meantime please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about anything discussed above, or in general, please contact our Charity Legacies, Trusts and Probate Disputes team.
Posted on 10/06/2016 in Legal UpdatesBack to Knowledge