Charity legacies are a bitter pill

Why are charity legacies such a bitter pill?  It has been well reported that three times as many contentious probate cases have hit the courts in recent years; as families, disappointed in not receiving as much inheritance as previously thought, fight for this much needed cash injection.  

The problem?  It’s not usually that cousins, friends or colleagues have benefited instead, but animal charities have received the legacies.

In some cases, estates valued up to £1 million have been left to charities including the RSPCA – a move which has staggered and even angered many family members.

Charities have long since identified bequests as a means of raising significant funds, with many focusing their marketing campaigns on securing a greater number of bequests.   It was inevitable therefore, that the number of challenges would also increase, with around nine cases taken to court last year.

One of the major problems lies when a Will has been changed suddenly and often just before a death, removing the original beneficiaries and leaving all assets instead to a charitable organisation.

Relatives are left confused by this action and often argue that the deceased was obviously not of sound mind when they made the alteration.

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