Charity legacies

Without doubt, that is the best result that I have seen achieved at mediation in many years.

General counsel of a national charity

Our dedicated charity legacy lawyers have long championed and supported the work of charities. Their understanding of the wider sector enables them to give practical advice which combines commerciality with sensitivity.

Acting for many national charities, we assist legacy officers and fundraising and finance teams with the technical issues that can arise from collecting in donations and legacies. Wills can be complex documents and administering estates involving charities is not always a straightforward process. Our specialist team provides guidance to other law firms as well as charities to ensure the testator’s wishes are properly implemented.

During legacy and estate administration, we are equipped to assist with the interpretation of wills and gifts, day to day and ad hoc queries, legacy fundraising and tax issues. We are also experienced in dealing with complex matters including multi-million pound estates, international assets, offshore trusts and technical tax issues.

Unfortunately, charities often find themselves having to defend claims against their legacies. This might be as a result of claims brought by dependants under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 as well as claims that the testator lacked capacity to make the will or did not know of or approve the contents of the will. In some cases charities will also find themselves having to consider claims to rectify the misappropriation of assets during a testator’s lifetime or claims relating to forged wills or breach of trust.

Our team has significant knowledge of all these types of matters and deals with high value litigation, complicated legacy and trust disputes, claims involving fraud, and Court of Protection applications as well as the usual contentious matters that legacy officers come across on a daily basis.

Backed by a number of qualified mediators in the firm, including a charity mediator, we are very proactive and have a keen focus on early dispute resolution. Our team attracts regular praise for its impressive results on behalf of charity clients.

We offer expert advice on:

  • the full range of estate administration and trust issues, including both complex and high value trusts and estates
  • cross-border issues, foreign grants, domicile and overseas assets
  • the validity and interpretation of wills
  • conditional gifts and releasing restrictions on legacies
  • solicitors’ fees and chasing up entitlements to estates/trusts from non-responding PRs/trustees
  • charity legacy disputes including those involving 1975 Act claims, want of knowledge and approval, capacity, forged wills and statutory will applications
  • executor disputes and removal of executors and trustees
  • claims involving fraud during the lifetime of the testator or during estate administration
  • acting as executor (under a power of attorney) and administering estates
  • ex gratia claims and Charity Commission applications for charities
  • charity and estate tax issues
  • trustee authorities, delegated powers and reputation management

Recent work highlights

Daughter's legal challenge

Acting for a charity in relation to a claim by an estranged daughter under the Inheritance Act for provision from her late father’s estate, including representing the charity at mediation and successfully settling the claim for a very small sum.

Validity dispute

Helping a group of charities defend a claim that a benefactor’s home-made will was invalid and subsequently acting for one of the charities in its capacity as executor to take out a grant of representation and administer the estate.

Inheritance tax recovery

Advising several national charities on a claim to recover inheritance tax which had been wrongfully charged against their share of the estate.

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