Hannah Brittain, IDR Law’s Head of Charity Legacy Disputes sat down with Matthew Lagden, CEO of ILM to have a candid chat about all things legacy related covering everything from the basics, such as what legacies are and why they matter, who ILM are and what their members do and why, through to common issues faced by Legacy Managers such as dealing with compliance and regulatory issues, reputational management and what ILM members want to see from their solicitors when instructing them to assist.
Charities are extremely sensitive to their reputation and are often apprehensive that they will be perceived as greedy for accepting their full entitlement or too aggressive if they pursue a legacy and the possibility that this may taint their public perception and potentially jeopardise future income. Indeed, charities have attracted a great deal of media attention in the past simply for pursuing a legacy. Hannah and Matthew talk over the age old Family v Charity/David v Goliath argument and that there is often an expectation by disgruntled family members that the charity should surrender all or part of its interest under a Will without appreciating that charities have a duty to ensure that an estate is administered correctly and that the charity receives the correct amount due to it. The trustees are not permitted to simply surrender an interest, unless it is a genuine compromise of litigation or pursuant to the principles of ex-gratia payments.
They also discuss the most common claims faced by charities and how as legacy bequests and income increase, so too will disputes and challenges to those gifts. They also touch on how family members can benefit in the long run when a charity is included a Will and how Will Writers can play a vital role in advancing this message. On the other hand, a testator may decide that notwithstanding this advantage, they do not want to burden their family members with administering an estate involving a gift to charity and consequently having to answer to that charity.