Penningtons Manches charitable legacies research

March 17, 2017

Legacy officers to have their say on how the charity and legal sectors work together in new research project

A new survey of charities, their legacy officers and probate practitioners will launch this week to find out how the legal and charity sectors are working together to ensure that the wishes of those who have left legacies to charity in their wills are fulfilled.

The research has been commissioned by leading law firm Penningtons Manches, whose full-time specialist charities team works with many of the country’s largest national charities, as well as large variety of smaller charities.

The survey is timely, with the fieldwork commencing in the same week as judgement was handed down on the landmark case Illot V Mitson. The Supreme Court found in favour of three animal charities over a woman who was cut out of her mother’s will, upholding the principle testamentary freedom – that we’re all free to choose who will benefit when we die.

If you are a working for a charity managing legacy income then this is your chance to have your say.

Head of charities Alison Talbot says: “Both charity legacy managers and probate practitioners face challenges in their respective roles. Legacy managers have to ensure that the wishes of testator are satisfied and that the charity receives the legacy income due to it. However, the level of income that the charity receives can often be threatened by tax exemptions being overlooked, legal challenges to their entitlement brought by disgruntled relatives, forged homemade wills and financial abuse of vulnerable people.”

She continues: “Meanwhile, probate practitioners have to balance the needs of all the beneficiaries of an estate, whether or not they are charities, and are often working directly with the bereaved relatives of the deceased as well as dealing with the additional legal and tax issues that arise when charities are beneficiaries of an estate.”

The aim of this survey is to find out if more can be done to help these two groups to balance these roles and ensure that wherever possible the wishes of the deceased are fully implemented.

The survey can be accessed here.

It takes less than ten minutes to complete and participants have the chance to win one of three £100 Amazon vouchers. The survey will close on 6 April and the draw will be made on 21 April 2017, with winners being informed on or before 10 May 2017.

The results will be reported anonymously and shared at an event hosted by Penningtons Manches in June. A report setting out the results of the research will be available to all participants.

For further information, please contact:

Louisa Howells
Penningtons Manches LLP
125 Wood Street
London EC2V 7AW

Tel: 020 7457 3258
e-mail :


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