Do you need to update your Will?

Most challenges to wills which become headline news follow the theme of children who have been left less than they expected by their parent(s), or sometimes nothing at all.

What is much less commonly reported is when a charity is the entity challenging or defending a contested probate. But it happens, its frequency is on the increase, and these challenges can be much more acrimonious than the public realise.

Charities, like individuals, are able to defend or bring proceedings in relation to an estate. Whilst it is important that they have the right to do this, many people would assume that it is a rare event because of the public’s perception of charities. In the case of Ilott v The Blue Cross and others in 2017, some media outlets criticised the charities’ approach in pursuing the litigation right up to the Supreme Court. But it is important to remember that charities have a legal duty to realise and collect in the legacies that are due to them.

It is not always the case that charities are playing defensively in these disputes. Sometimes they must make the bold decision to litigate as a claimant in order to ensure that they are fulfilling their legal duties to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries of their charity.

Understandably, charities, like many individuals, depend and rely on realising their entitlement from a will. In fact, a staggering amount of money is left to charities each year: some estimates suggest as much as £3 billion. Clearly then, this is a huge source of income for charities who depend on this financing to run their organisations. For some, it is their main source of income. This is going to become even more important during the coronavirus crisis, as charity shops remain shut and charity fundraising events continue to be cancelled.

How we can help?

If you would like to leave a donation to a charity in your will, we can assist you as we have experience in this area. We also have the expertise, due to our experience with contentious probate matters, to be able to advise you on the possible challenges that could be made in respect of your will.

Or perhaps you are a charity trustee involved in a probate dispute. If so, then we can advise you accordingly and would be happy to help.

If you need assistance or are interested in learning more about this topic, please contact us on 0118 958 9711 or email [email protected].

Further Reading:

Charities suffer following a dramatic dip in legacy donations. Can you help?

Have you lost someone to COVID-19? If so, help is here.

Meet the Private Client Team – Jane Whitfield, Head of Trusts and Charities

Get in Touch

If you would like further information, Nicholas Buckle offers an initial one hour fixed fee meeting at a cost of £95 (inc. VAT). During these meeting we can discuss your personal circumstances, options and possible next steps. Nick specialises on a broad range of contentious probate matters.

Due to the current circumstances, meetings can occur via telephone. We are hoping that meetings at our office in Reading can occur soon. Please call the office on 0118 9589711 or email [email protected] if you would like to book a meeting.

"barrettandco" and "Barrett & Co" are trading names of Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP, a Limited Liability Partnership incorporated in England and Wales under registration number OC356263, with registered office at Salisbury House, 54 Queens Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4AZ. Barrett & Co Solicitors LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority www.sra.org.uk (SRA Number 549694).

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