Council in Aberdeen faces legal fight for ancient trust funds

More than £230,000 of charity money remains locked in a series of ancient trusts because Aberdeenshire county council can't work out how to legally release it.

Members of the authority's finance monitoring unit are set to meet on the 22 August to discuss ways to free the money, which is sealed in around 109 trusts, some dating back to the 17th Century.

Many of the oldest trusts are devoted to obscure causes such as provisions for widows of burgesses and aged virgins, and one formed in 1820 collected money for "sermons against cruelty to animals".

Others are for more everyday matters such as the provision of coal to the poor and the upkeep of graves and tombstones.

Councillors want to release the money and disperse funds to beneficiaries and other bodies whose aims are as close as possible to the original purpose of the trusts.

Lawyers have warned that it could take months to reorganise and gain access to the trust money.

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