Legacy disputes

Legacies are a vital, albeit somewhat unpredictable, source of income for many charities. The amount charities receive from legacies in the UK is approaching £2bn per year. It is commonly felt, however, that the amount being left to charity is likely to reduce in these difficult economic times.

It is surprising that the majority of people in the UK (the figure is probably somewhere around 70 per cent) die without having made a will. Charities of course receive nothing under the intestacy rules. Of those people who do leave a will, it is estimated that only around one in seven contain a gift to charity.

If these figures are correct, this means that only around four per cent of people leave a legacy to charity. Only a small number of those legacies will be subject to some form of dispute. Nevertheless, we are seeing an increasing number of challenges being made to peoples’ wills, which is bound to have a knock-on effect on the amount ultimately received by charities…

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