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Charities as beneficiaries

Following the recent Ilott decision, Lucy Gill discusses the duty of trustees to ensure that any funds due to a charity are collected

26 May 2017

The judgment in the recent case of Ilott v The Blue Cross and others [2017] UKSC 17 was welcomed by the charity sector as a victory for testamentary freedom.

The case involved a claim by the estranged daughter of the deceased, who had lived financially independently from her for many years. The deceased recorded her reasons for leaving her estate to three charities rather than her daughter in a letter of wishes, citing the relationship breakdown between her and her daughter as the main reason.

Mrs Ilott, the daughter, claimed financial provision from the estate. The Supreme Court eventually reduced her award, largely leaving intact the legacies to the three charities involved.

The judgment recognised that a testator’s wishes should be paramount. If they choose to leave their estate to charity, the charity does not have to justify ...

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