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Gifts to charities in wills

Smee & Ford is an interesting company whose existence is very little known by anyone outside the world of charities. What they do is constantly search the probate registries and obtain details of wills; if they find that a charity has been left money or the whole or part of an estate it immediately notifies the charity concerned. The big charities and many of their smaller brethren will then contact the executors and make known their interest in the estate. If a charitable gift is modest, say for example a cash sum of £500, the subsequent monitoring will be fairly relaxed. If however the gift is all or a part of the estate the monitoring can be quite intense and executors can be frightened or at the very least feel a little intimidated by the “efficiency” of the officers employed by the charity. Of course it all comes down to money and the charity quite rightly wants to maximize its return, so if it is getting a share of the residue it will want to ensure that the residue is increased by making the most of the assets and minimizing the liabilities as much as it can.

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What are we doing?

Does this qualify as a Flawg?

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What is a caveat in probate?

The word from the Latin ‘let him beware’ is a warning procedure in the context of probate. It allows a person to delay probate being issued until the caveat has been removed.

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Probate and home-made wills

A colleague was recently consulted by an elderly lady about making a lasting power of attorney. When asked about her will the client proudly produced something which she herself had done. She had gone to WH Smith and bought a will form.

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Bad effort

We were recently visited by a pleasant middle aged lady who lives close to our offices. She was very upset as a result of the way in which a solicitor’s firm had dealt with the estate of her late father. She said that she had wanted to instruct us but her father shortly before he died had urged her to use his own solicitors. She decided to honour her father’s wishes and the solicitors were duly instructed.

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