Charities and litigation

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Charities may find themselves involved in litigation if they have been left a testamentary gift which is challenged, perhaps by a family member of the testator. We can advise not only on the merits of such a challenge and the strategy in response but also on the requirements for the charity to comply with guidance set out by the Charity Commission.

We are experienced in considering the specific factors which charities must take into account when considering potential settlements or ex gratia payments to family members or other persons whom the charity consider to have a moral claim to an estate.

Charitable organisations are often established as trusts. We can ensure the efficient removal, retirement and appointment of trustees within Charity Commission guidelines. We can also resolve disputes between trustees and advise on trustees’ duties. Where there has been a potential breach of trust, we can guide the charity on its options for dealing with that breach.

We offer expert advice on:

  • charities’ defence of claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975
  • charities’ defence of challenges to testamentary gifts
  • charities’ claims against the negligence of professional advisers
  • removing, retiring and appointing charity trustees
  • resolving disputes between charity trustees
  • duties of charity trustees including avoiding conflicts of interests, duties of investment, and general duties of care
  • Charity Commission guidance and compliance, and responding to Charity Commission enquiries
  • seeking Charity Commission approval of ex gratia payments to persons considered to have a “moral” claim

Recent work highlights

Charity Commission response

Advising charitable trustees on how to respond to the Charity Commission following an enquiry into a potential conflict of interest.

Settlement for solicitors’ negligence

Securing a settlement for several charities as part of a group of disappointed beneficiaries who missed out on an intended testamentary gift due to the negligence of the solicitors preparing the will.

Related expertise

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP