When a Charitable Gift Backfires

September 18, 2012

When a Charitable Gift Backfires

Making a bequest to a charity is relatively common. However, sometimes this can backfire spectacularly, as happened in the case of a Cheshire man who bequeathed a property to the RSPCA in his will and included the wish that it should be preserved as a sanctuary for animals. The property was a haven for wild animals of all sorts and it was his stated wish that it be kept as a safe place for them.

Instead of acceding to the man’s wish, the RSPCA sold the land for development. It had the right to do so because his wish as expressed did not bind the charity to take any particular course of action with regard to the land.

If you are intending to make a gift in your will and want to make sure that your wishes with regard to it are binding on the recipient, the will must be worded appropriately. Merely expressing a wish that a gift is put to a particular use will not necessarily suffice.