Charity Commission backs JNF over will complaint

By Simon Rocker, March 18, 2010

The Charity Commission has rejected a complaint against JNF UK for offering to help draw up wills for free, in return for a bequest to the charity.

It took the charity watchdog 17 months to issue its decision after the JC reported a complaint had been made about the KKL wills service, run by JNF.

The commission said: "The benefits to the charity outweigh any potential disadvantages," adding that they do not plan to take further action.

The commission said it had met the charity to discuss its "legacy fundraising practices, in particular its offer of free advice on wills by a charity employee in return for a bequest". 

It noted the commission's guidance on wills: "A charity employee's involvement in drafting a will is likely to be viewed with suspicion and could well increase the risk of a legal challenge to a legacy left to the charity in the will".

But it accepted the JNF's view that "the risks to the charity in providing the free will-writing service in its current form can be effectively managed and have strengthened their safeguards and internal procedures".

Harvey Bratt, JNF's director of legacies, said that the organisation was "greatly encouraged" by the commission's conclusion.

Last updated: 4:40pm, March 18 2010