Risky to leave residual legacies to charity

People who are writing a will and considering leaving some money to charity need to think carefully about how they do it in order to avoid disputes, one expert has said.

Keith Johnston, director of philanthropy at the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, noted that there have been some high-profile disputes over who is entitled to what in recent years.

"Some advisors are now saying that to avoid complications it's better to leave a fixed sum to any charity rather than a 'residual legacy'," he explained.

This basically contributes whatever is left after the estate has been administered to the chosen good cause.

However, this often means that charities end up with less than the individual intended when they were writing a will, Mr Johnston suggested, so careful calculations need to be made.

Prudential research recently showed that 52 per cent of people hoping to retire this year believe they will have enough of an inheritance to leave to their loved ones.

Published on: June 2, 2011

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