At Ashfords we make it our business to understand the needs of our charity and not-for-profit clients. We work closely with a large number of third sector organisations, including high profile national household names and provide a complete service offering for our clients across our specialist teams. Our charity legacy services range from advice on routine legacy administration, through to advising on more complex matters such as permanent endowments, trusts and trust disputes, challenges to legacies, proprietary estoppel claims and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
As an alternative business structure we are also able to offer a comprehensive suite of non-legal business services including health and safety and safeguarding advice, GDPR support, and business strategy review and development. Part of our diversification plans involve rolling out a new tailored solution (“Digital Legacy”) to accompany our probate services, which allows clients to securely store instructions to executors. We are in the early stages of marketing this service but we feel that it may be of interest to our charity clients as it facilitates the initial estate administration and helps prevent costly contentious probate disputes. This service complements our existing Ruby Datum product which is available to all clients and provides a highly secure, searchable, cloud-based document storage facility.
A further differentiator which sets us apart from our competitors, lies in recognising the critical importance of public relations (PR), for charities. We regularly advise charities on reputational management matters and we work closely with dedicated specialists and leaders in the field, to provide a ‘best-in-class’ service to our charity clients. Our standard offering includes consideration of the PR angle of any contentious matter at an early stage in the process which can prevent harmful issues arising. In the last 12 months, the team has held a Masterclass for charities on Reputation and PR management at the RAF Club in London, and hosted another PR Masterclass event for charities in January 2019 featuring the Business Editor of the Daily Mail.
The Charity sector has become a key growth area for the firm. In the past year, we have seen our instructions in this sector grow by 173%, largely due to the focus of our Disputed Wills, Trusts and Estates team which has grown by 36% in the last 12 months. We continue to be firmly committed to our third sector clients and offer a range of discounted services with initial advice being provided for free.
Known as a leading law firm with a major presence in the charity sector, members of the Ashfords’ charities team feature continuously in both Chambers UK and Legal 500 and in 2019 we were ranked in tier 2 in Chambers UK and Legal 500. With a reputation for cutting-edge and innovative thinking, we have been invited to exhibit and speak at a number of industry conferences over the last 12 months and we have also recently hosted a highly successful event for the charity sector at the Tower of London as part of our series of Legacy Masterclasses, with a follow-on event to be held at Lambeth Palace in October 2019.
Kerry is a Partner in the Disputed Wills and Trusts Team. She advises private individuals, charities and trustees in relation to all matters arising out of contentious Wills, Trusts and Estates.
Kerry regularly advises clients in relation to challenges to the validity of a Will or Trust Instrument. She also gives advice on will construction and rectification claims and claims against personal representatives and trustees regarding their performance, including applications for their removal and replacement.
Kerry also frequently advises on claims for financial provision from an estate pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, proprietary estoppel claims, claims in relation to lifetime transactions on the basis that they are void for lack of capacity, undue influence or fraud and professional negligence claims relating to Trusts and Estates.