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Charity shopped

29 November 2010

Thinking about making a donation to an animal charity this Christmas? Think again, because the money could be going towards funding disputes over legacies rather than towards animal welfare. Not that it should necessarily stop you, but according to the RSPCA, the ruling in Gill earlier this week is likely to lead to a rise in claims against charities.

Christine Gill’s mother left her estate, which includes a £2.3m farm in Yorkshire, to the RSPCA. In its ruling on Tuesday the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision that Joyce Gill’s will was invalid because she had been coerced into it.

The dispute was waged, in part, through the media, with the RSPCA saying it was “legally obliged” to defend the claim, and Ms Gill’s lawyers, Mishcon’s Mark Keenan, retorting that the charity had refused to consider mediation.

Keenan, who also acts for numerous charities involved in legacy disputes, was prompt to dismiss the RSPCA’s suggestions: the case wa...

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