Advice please: If your deceased loved-one has left a charity bequest...

(8 Posts)
IrisWildthyme Tue 30-Jul-13 16:45:09

... amounting to several thousand pounds (although this is a small fraction of the total estate), would you expect the charity to send a representative along to a memorial service/ashes scattering ceremony as a mark of respect, or would you expect them not to as they didn't actually know the person?

OP’s posts: |
BackforGood Tue 30-Jul-13 16:47:57

No - I wouldn't.
Generally all that would be done before the charity knew anything about the money anyway.
Only time I might expect someone was if they were a long term fundraiser / volunteer and the charity knew them personally and also knew about the service / ceremony.

Thymeout Sat 03-Aug-13 20:07:42

No. To be honest we have been v disappointed in the response from the charity to whom my relative left a percentage of her estate. They didn't even reply to the donation raised instead of flowers at her funeral. We had to phone to check it had been received.

The percentage includes money from the sale of her house and with rising property values is considerably more than I believe she would have given as a one off capital donation. I asked the solicitor dealing with her estate if he was surprised at the lack of response and he said, frankly, yes.

It's certainly made me feel differently about the charity concerned and what I will put in my own will. It makes me sad to feel that my relative's generosity is not appreciated.

IrisWildthyme Sat 03-Aug-13 21:37:37

Thanks for the responses - I'm coming at this dilemma from the charity side myself. it's a small, fairly obscure charity that doesn't get these sorts of gifts very often, so there isn't an established procedure. The charity wants to make sure that its gratitude is properly communicated, and to ensure that the family feel the gift is really appreciated. The actual funeral happened a while ago but the executor of the estate, in a letter confirming the amount of the bequest, said that the family would be having a short memorial service and scattering the ashes at such-and-such a time and place, and to let them know if the charity wanted to send someone along. As I said, no-one at the charity really knew the gentleman in question and it wouldn't be easy for the charity to send someone, but no-one wants to seem ungrateful. The family would be getting a personal (i.e. not a form-letter) thank you letter and some information about what the gift will be used for. thymeout would you consider this sufficient, or would you think more than that would be necessary to show proper gratitude?

OP’s posts: |
LillyofWinchester Sat 03-Aug-13 21:45:45

I think as the family have mentioned it themselves then it shows they might appreciate the gesture of someone attending in person. I guess it depends how difficult it would be to send someone? Are we talking an overnight hotel stay, or just a long car journey? I think attending the scattering of the ashes part might be a bit personal though.
Perhaps if attending is not feasible you could call and explain, or put together something that could be printed in the memorial booklet, saying what the money will be used towards, similar to what you intend to put in the letter.

Thymeout Sun 04-Aug-13 11:25:34

OP - yes - that sounds much better. Ours was a well-known, national charity and completely impersonal. It was treated as a business transaction, with no recognition of my relative's generosity or the sentiments behind her gift.

I agree with Lilly re attending in person. If it is local, it would be a nice gesture. But what you are suggesting regarding information as to what the gift would be used for would be perfectly acceptable.

Umamipaste Sun 04-Aug-13 16:48:06

Just stumbled across this thread. I'm a legacy manager for a large national charity and we would try to attend if the solicitor or family have gone to the trouble of sending us the funeral details, my colleague was actually asked to speak at a recent funeral, which was a little tricky as he didn't know the deceased at all. It is a difficult job sometimes, to strike a balance between too much or too little contact at what is a very difficult time for the family.

I'm very sorry to hear of your experience Thymeout, especially as it was a larger charity. I would follow it up and make a complaint, as their lack of acknowledgement reflects badly on charities as a whole and they should buck up their ideas! We are immensely grateful for every legacy we receive, be it £50 or £1m, and do our utmost to convey our gratitude to the family.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sun 04-Aug-13 20:33:37

A representative of a charity my DH was very involved with and donations were made to attended his funeral. They also sent us updates on how his legacy was used and invited us to fundraising functions.

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