'Letters of wishes can bring legal problems'

The validity of letters could be contested and testators might leave multiple letters accidentally, convention session hears

Royal National Institute for the Blind head of legacies Eifron Hopper
Royal National Institute for the Blind head of legacies Eifron Hopper

Letters of wishes that enable people to leave part of their estates to charities without altering their wills could be the subject of legal wrangling, the Royal National Institute for the Blind’s head of legacies will warn.

In today’s session There’s a Lot of Tosh Talked About Legacies, Eifron Hopper will say that the legal validity of the letters could be contested and testators might leave multiple letters accidentally.

Speaking in advance of the session, he said: "You can mention them in the will to give them moral force. The danger is that people, as they get older, might leave several such letters, and there will be dispute over which is the right one. I don’t think there is a way around that."

Hopper will also say that the government policy that reduces inheritance tax by 10 per cent if a testator leaves 10 per cent of the residue of their estate to charity will affect only the very wealthy and will not apply to many people.

- See more news from this year's IoF National Convention

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