Many people choose to leave a cash legacy or the entirety of their estate to a charity. Sometimes these legacies will be challenged by disgruntled beneficiaries.
Charities often depend financially upon the legacies left to them by their supporters. Everyone is entitled to decide what happens to their estate when they die and where such a legacy is challenged it is not something that can be easily ignored or given up.
At Linder Myers we offer practical, commercial legal services for charities that will allow them to properly fulfill their obligations as a charity, but also to protect their entitlement to the legacies bequeathed to them.
Reasons for challenges include:
- Where the disappointed beneficiary believes that the charity exerted some level of improper influence over the deceased.
- Where the disappointed beneficiary sees the charity as an easy target and attempts to challenge the validity of the Will or the deceased’s capacity at the time of making the legacy.
- Where he Will has appointed the charity as the executor and they must personally defend the claim against the estate.
If a challenge is made and you are not acting as executors, it is vital you seek legal advice as to the merits of the claim and whether an early settlement would in fact protect the bulk of the legacy, or whether a robust stance would be more appropriate.
Claims can be made in all sorts of ways, and by a variety of people. With the right advice a legacy dispute can be settled with the most advantageous terms to you. If a dispute is allowed to linger you may find that the costs outweigh the total legacy.
At Linder Myers have experience in all types of disputes relating to Wills, probate and legacies. We act for charities in resolving problems that can arisen and always try to assist you in settling a matter as early as possible so that future costs can be avoided. Where appropriate we achieve the desired results by maximising the use of alternative dispute resolution, for example through formal mediation. However, when this is not possible, our experienced litigators will be able to guide you smoothly through the process.