Leading law firm, Ashfords LLPs Charity Legacy Team, recently hosted a seminar with industry experts exploring how charities can protect their legacy income in an age of increasing abuse, coercion, fraud and forgery in the context of inheritance related disputes.
Held at the Tower of London on 14 November, the seminar attracted industry peers from across the charity sector, including over 100 charities.
The informative afternoon was chaired by Robert Horsey, Head of Disputed Wills and Trusts at Ashfords. The speakers included Ashfords' Kerry Morgan-Gould, Head of Charity Legacy Team, and Barny Croft, Senior Associate, the chancery specialist Constance McDonnell from Searle Court chambers, who has recently been named Chancery Junior of the Year at the 2018 Chambers Bar Awards, and Ellen Radley from Radley Forensic Document laboratory, a leading expert in forensic document analysis.
According to Smee & Ford's Legacy Trends 2018 report, charity legacy income reached its highest ever level last year and is now estimated at between £2.8 and 2.9 billion. With legacy income at an all-time high, disputes involving Wills on the rise, and a 45% increase in investigations over potential abuse of powers of attorney, charities now more than ever need to be vigilant to ensure that the generous gifts they are left by donors reach them. Indeed, at times they will have little option but to take action to protect their legacies. Topics included: undue influence claims in probate; how charities can best respond to cases of fraud, abuse and coercion, forensic examination of suspected fraudulent documents; and a review of recent high profile cases.
Kerry Morgan-Gould commented "We were delighted to welcome so many representatives from the charity sector to our event. It was an exciting opportunity to combine a visit to a fantastic venue with a discussion on a topical subject which is becoming increasingly relevant to charity legacy officers".