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    • John Chip
    • By John Chip 17th Jul 17, 5:53 PM
    • 21Posts
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    John Chip
    Probate Office asking for 200 signatures
    • #1
    • 17th Jul 17, 5:53 PM
    Probate Office asking for 200 signatures 17th Jul 17 at 5:53 PM
    Hello,

    I'm in the process of buying a property (probate) the proceeds of which are being split 50/50 between a relative and a charity.

    The Probate Office are asking for all 200 signatures of every board member of the charity - each in writing, not a response to an email or fax.

    Has anyone ever experienced this?

    It seems it could take forever to get these signatures given that board members are likely to be on holiday, ill, moving house etc etc

    Any advice please?

    Thank you.

    John
Page 1
    • John Chip
    • By John Chip 17th Jul 17, 5:57 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    John Chip
    • #2
    • 17th Jul 17, 5:57 PM
    • #2
    • 17th Jul 17, 5:57 PM
    Btw - forgot to say the charity is the executor.
    • 00ec25
    • By 00ec25 17th Jul 17, 6:03 PM
    • 5,369 Posts
    • 4,708 Thanks
    00ec25
    • #3
    • 17th Jul 17, 6:03 PM
    • #3
    • 17th Jul 17, 6:03 PM
    something must have got lost in translation because a charity with 200 trustees MUST have a nominated (single or dual) signatory with authority to sign legal undertakings on behalf of the charity
    • xylophone
    • By xylophone 17th Jul 17, 6:22 PM
    • 23,447 Posts
    • 13,633 Thanks
    xylophone
    • #4
    • 17th Jul 17, 6:22 PM
    • #4
    • 17th Jul 17, 6:22 PM
    The charity has been named as executor?

    http://www.rememberacharity.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Practioner-Leaflet-web-version-Apr-11.pdf

    Naming charities as executors
    Some clients like to appoint a charity as executor, either alone or with an
    individual. This is perfectly in order, although it can cause difficulties if a
    charity does not have Trust Corporation status. In that case the charity has to nominate an individual to take out the grant on its behalf.

    It may be preferable to nominate the holder of a particular office (e.g. the
    finance director at the time of death). You should discourage clients from
    appointing an individual by name, in case that person has left the charity
    by the time your client dies.

    Also bear in mind that some smaller charities may lack the expertise, or
    the desire, to administer an estate themselves.

    In all cases where a charity is named as an executor it is prudent to consult the charity in question at the time the Will is made to confirm whether they have Trust Corporation status, and their protocol if they do not.


    Above may be relevant.

    Have you /your solicitor checked with the charity?
    • G_M
    • By G_M 17th Jul 17, 8:21 PM
    • 41,950 Posts
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    G_M
    • #5
    • 17th Jul 17, 8:21 PM
    • #5
    • 17th Jul 17, 8:21 PM
    I can't assist with the specific problem, but woud urge anyone else reading this thread and contemplating their will NOT to appoint as Executer(s)

    * a bank
    * a solicitor
    * a charity
    * any other professional

    unless you have absolutely no alternative (ie no trusted relatives or friends.)

    Remember a relative who is Executer who feels out of their depth, or gets confused, or has no time, can themselves choose to employ a solicitor either for the entire process, or for specific limited jobs.

    But naming a professional just adds huge cost to managing the Estate as well as potentially causing issues (as we see here).
    • John Chip
    • By John Chip 17th Jul 17, 8:22 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    John Chip
    • #6
    • 17th Jul 17, 8:22 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Jul 17, 8:22 PM
    Thanks for the information.

    I don't know if the charity has trust corporation status.

    It just seems odd that signatures from every board member is required - I would imagine, as has been said, that a chief executive officer of the charity could sign any paperwork.

    This is what the estate agent, and the vendor's solicitor are telling me - I have yet to instruct my solicitor to get involved and ask direct questions.

    Thanks

    John
    • xylophone
    • By xylophone 17th Jul 17, 8:52 PM
    • 23,447 Posts
    • 13,633 Thanks
    xylophone
    • #7
    • 17th Jul 17, 8:52 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Jul 17, 8:52 PM
    I have yet to instruct my solicitor to get involved and ask direct questions.
    Then do so asap?
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 17th Jul 17, 9:36 PM
    • 30,298 Posts
    • 18,116 Thanks
    getmore4less
    • #8
    • 17th Jul 17, 9:36 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Jul 17, 9:36 PM
    Someone has messed up or does not have a clue.

    Only those named on the grant would need to sign any documents on behalf of the deceased(200 on that doc would be unusual) .

    There can only ever be a max 4 legal owners of a property that are needed to sign off the change in ownership.

    highly unlikely it is the probate office,

    they are the easy one to pin the mess on.
    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 17th Jul 17, 9:54 PM
    • 3,244 Posts
    • 4,039 Thanks
    bouicca21
    • #9
    • 17th Jul 17, 9:54 PM
    • #9
    • 17th Jul 17, 9:54 PM
    Well I'm involved as a trustee with two charities both of which recently received legacies. In neither case was it necessary for all the trustees to sign anything (and what kind of charity has 200 trustees? that's a recipe for disaster in itself, imho)
    • John Chip
    • By John Chip 17th Jul 17, 10:56 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    John Chip
    Thanks again.

    I only found out about this today, and I will be instructing my solicitor tomorrow.

    So - it would be strange to have a charity with 200 trustees not to have a chief officer to sign this off?

    I think there must be some error in the process or misunderstanding - it just seems highly unusual.

    I will let you know how I get on.

    John
    • G_M
    • By G_M 18th Jul 17, 12:47 PM
    • 41,950 Posts
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    G_M
    Well I'm involved as a trustee with two charities both of which recently received legacies. In neither case was it necessary for all the trustees to sign anything (and what kind of charity has 200 trustees? that's a recipe for disaster in itself, imho)
    Originally posted by bouicca21
    The difference is that you were receiving legacies. Your charities were simply Beneficiaries under the will, so the Executers of that will simly wrote you cheqques once they had obtained Probate.

    In this case, the charity has been named as the Executer (for some inexplicable reason), so it is the charity that has to apply for Probate.
    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 18th Jul 17, 1:14 PM
    • 3,244 Posts
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    bouicca21
    Yes, but the charity concerned will have a constitution which should set out how it is managed and its paid and honorary officers. If there really are 200 trustees then there is probably some kind of smaller executive committee charged with day to day affairs. I'd say that either a designated officer or possibly the exec committee itself are empowered to act. Maybe the way forward is to take the constitution to the probate office and discuss further.
    • gingercordial
    • By gingercordial 18th Jul 17, 2:18 PM
    • 1,027 Posts
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    gingercordial
    Thanks again.

    So - it would be strange to have a charity with 200 trustees not to have a chief officer to sign this off?
    Originally posted by John Chip
    Absolutely - that is an enormous board and I can only think we are talking about one of the larger charities. There is no way that there is not some kind of constitution/governing document which gives powers and signing rights to a sub-set. It would be unworkable otherwise.

    The charity of which I'm a trustee - not massive but not tiny either - has ten trustees and any two of us can sign for such things. Just as well as it is like herding cats even with just ten.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 18th Jul 17, 2:25 PM
    • 41,950 Posts
    • 48,551 Thanks
    G_M
    .....Maybe the way forward is to take the constitution to the probate office and discuss further.
    Originally posted by bouicca21
    OP is not in a position to do anythng. He's the buyer.

    It is the Executer who must discuss with the Probate Office, and presumably that is the same person/charity as is selling.

    Of course, we don't know for sure that this 200 signatures thing is really the issue - that is just what OP has been told.

    But if it is, you'd think the charity's Exec Officer would be keen to sell and would therefore be keen to convince the Probate Office that the 200 Trustees don't all need to sign.
    • gingercordial
    • By gingercordial 18th Jul 17, 2:42 PM
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    gingercordial
    I'm now genuinely curious as to which charity has such an enormous board. I've just been looking through the Charity Commission's register sorted by annual income, working down from the top including most of the main household names, and the biggest list of trustees I've found is 28 with most at fewer than 20.

    I think something has been lost in translation here.

    Edit: OP, it might be worth you checking whether there really are 200 as a starting point. The Charity Commission website will tell you this. Go here: http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/registerhomepage.aspx and enter the charity name in the purple box bottom left. It will work even if you only know one or two words rather than the exact name. Click on the correct charity from the list, then "Contact & Trustees" in the left hand menu. You can see how many there are.
    Last edited by gingercordial; 18-07-2017 at 3:02 PM.
    • John Chip
    • By John Chip 18th Jul 17, 7:47 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    John Chip
    Thanks to all of the above for their knowledge.

    I have asked my solicitor to contact the charity and their solicitor and ask directly about these 200 signatures - and also to see the correspondence asking for the 200 signatures.

    I am sure there is some sort of error with this - just looking around the charity website link above reveals the largest charities have just a handful of trustees / board members.

    But who knows - there maybe some crazy charity with 200 trustees out there.

    Thanks again for the above advice.

    John
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