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  • Writer's pictureEmma Aslett

Ambiguous Charity Bequeaths – Be Careful!

There has been a recent case involving the Will of the late Ms Thompson who left her residuary estate to a total of 15 charities. The difficulty was that several of those charities were incorrectly named or were ambiguous.

 

The estate was valued at circa £1.48m which meant that the charities were due to receive a large sum towards their good causes.

 

Due to the incorrections and the ambiguous nature of the Will, attempts were made to find out which charities she was referring to. These attempts were made by looking through the late Ms Thompson’s bank accounts to see if she made payments to these charities beforehand. Unfortunately, this was not successful.

 

One part of the Will even said that the charities could not benefit if they had changed their name or merged. This caused more difficulty.

 

The Court felt it appropriate to establish certain principles. By way of example, that it was necessary to interpret what the Will’s wording to identify the charity. If the charity did not exist or it was vague as to what charity was being referred to, the Court would consider the doctrine of cy-près, which allows the Court to amend the Will and enforce it as near as possible.

 

The last thing anyone wants is for this to happen. These proceedings take time and are very costly. Please make sure you have a Will prepared properly and your wishes are clear to save time, ambiguity, costs and also further upset to your family.


Emma Aslett




0207 183 4595


The information provided in this article is not intended to constitute professional advice and you should take full and comprehensive legal, accountancy or financial advice as appropriate on your individual circumstances by a fully qualified Solicitor, Accountant or Financial Advisor/Mortgage Broker before you embark on any course of action.

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