Markel

Third Sector Awards 2018: Best Charity Law Firm - Penningtons Manches

Awarded to a legal firm that has provided outstanding support to its voluntary sector clients or the broader charity sector

What did it set out to achieve?

In 2017, Pennington Manches’ charities team commissioned research to explore perceptions of and views about charity legacies. The research uncovered tensions between lawyers and charities. A fifth of private client lawyers admitted they would encourage a client not to leave an outright gift to a charity, but to consider a more indirect route, which would not give the charity any certainty as to whether it would actually receive a gift. This could result in charities potentially losing out on outright gifts of as much as £100m per year.

What did it do?

Pennington Manches used the results of the survey to explore whether more could be done to help charities and probate practitioners ensure that wherever possible the wishes of a testator are properly implemented. After publishing its report, Bridging the Gap, the firm organised a conference called Legacy Conversation, aimed at charities and probate practitioners. The report and conference were free to charity representatives. The conference aimed to address some of the key issues highlighted by the survey and to allow space for frank dialogue between both groups to address these issues.

What was the result?

Pennington Manches’ charities team has committed to work with both charities and practitioners on the next steps. These include the provision of training for probate practitioners in charity legacy law and tax, arranging local round-table discussions between representatives from both groups with the potential to develop the beginnings of a voluntary code and continuing the dialogue with regulatory bodies and policymakers. Pennington Manches hopes this work will improve policy and practice within the sector, with a positive impact on the level of charitable income received.

Finalist

Paris Smith

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