Legacy Officer

12 May 2017
26 May 2017
Full Time
Contract Type

Purpose of the job

To optimise legacy income to the RSPCA and its branches by the proactive and efficient management of legacy case files.


In a team responsible for administering a significant legacy income which pays for about half of the work of the RSPCA, each Legacy Officer will manage a caseload of primarily residuary and life interest case files.

The caseload will include work of a potentially contentious nature and issues on the law of Wills, Tax, Trusts, Contentious and Non Contentious Probate, Charity and Property Law and cross-border estate issues, including tax implications and the potential legal ramifications for the Society of accepting a foreign inheritance.

Principal accountabilities

Residuary Legacies

  • To examine and otherwise follow through with the administration of residuary legacies and take appropriate steps to ensure that all appropriate actions have been taken by the Executors or Personal Representatives.
  • To ensure that the Society’s entitlement is received in accordance with the law and the provisions of the Will/Codicil(s) and any Deed of Variation or settlement agreement.
  • To identify and subsequently deal with issues of fraud, devastavit and other forms of maladministration.
  • Instruct and liaise with the Society’s external solicitors when required or appropriate.
  • Liaise with other charities where necessary and act as lead charity as appropriate.
  • The provision of guidance to lay executors in relation to estate administration processes and requirements for charity beneficiaries.

Reversionary Interest

  • To deal with and monitor estates where the Society has a reversionary interest.
  • Make regular reviews of these cases, checking for compliance with the various Trustee Acts from 1925 to date and the Trustees compliance with their fiduciary duties.
  • Ensure that the RSPCA’s interests are protected from possible fraud or criminal conversions.
  • Identifying breaches of trust and taking appropriate action.

Legacy Case Files

  • Ensure that all incoming correspondence is dealt with in a timely manner (as defined by internal service level agreements.
  • Respond to incoming enquiries by telephone and email, ensuring the appropriate legacy case files are updated accordingly.
  • Ensure all open legacy case files are reviewed on a regular basis and appropriate action taken to move cases through to conclusion.
  • Process legacy payments to branches and to ensure the verification of all information received regarding the case and the payment to be made.
  • Produce papers for Legacy Committee and Finance and General Purposes Panel in respect of legacy case files where there is ambiguity as to the intended beneficiary.
  • Liaise with and instruct approved solicitors to effect cost recovery where applicable.
  • Maintaining quality control over data input and ensure that data capture is complete and correct upon file closure.
  • To have knowledge of the Branch Legacy Scheme and its terms and conditions.
  • To adhere to delegated authority procedures.
  • To ensure sensitivity to and awareness of the Charity’s reputation and brand in all communications.
  • Such research as may be necessary in dealing with the above.

Pervasive Issues

  • To represent the Society in negotiations.
  • Attending mediation, conferences with Counsel, settlement meetings and court when necessary in relation to claims against an estate in which the Society/branch has a legal entitlement.
  • Dealing with the Charity Commission to comply with legislative requirements to include communication in relation to Charity Commission schemes and orders.
  • To ensure compliance with all Charity Act regulations in relation to the disposal of estate assets, including property and land disposals.
  • To deal with the administration of estates where the Society is acting as a Personal Representative of the deceased including the collection and disposal of assets in accordance with the law and terms of the Will.
  • Dealing with recovery of legacies due to regions and branches in accordance with the provisions of the Branch Legacy Scheme and identifying cases for referral to Legacy Committee and the Finance and General Purposes Panel.
  • Attending to specific matters of a non-routine nature as required by the Senior Legacy Manager and/or the Senior Legacy Officer.
  • Analyse the accuracy and substance of estate and trust accounts and taxation issues arising therefrom.
  • Keep abreast of recent developments and changes to the law of Wills, Probate, Tax, Trusts and Charity.

While at work all staff are required to:

  • Take care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their acts and omissions.
  • Co-operate with Society policies and procedures for health and safety.

Job context

The post-holder will work with a high degree of independence and must be able to work effectively by drawing on their experience and expertise in many areas of the law.  The post-holder is however required to keep the Legacy Administration Manager aware of significant developments, including the proposed compromise of claims and other more complex or contentious issues.

Each Legacy Officer takes personal responsibility for the work in each case focusing on a practical outcome, evaluating and acting on situations which arise or are identified by them.

Additional information

This Legacy Officer position requires proactive investigation and questioning of cases to optimise the income from legacies due to the RSPCA and its branches.

The post-holder will be familiar with handling contentious and often sensitive issues.

The post-holder needs to cope well with high volumes of work and have the ability to prioritise and multitask, remain calm at times of high pressure and be relied upon to complete tasks within agreed time scales.

The post-holder needs to be able to give clear and firm advice appropriate to the Society’s needs and where possible to identify options available for the Society.

The post-holder needs strong analytical skills and an ability to get to the point of issues quickly.

The post-holder is required to take well-founded decisions after balancing arguments/risks.

It is imperative the post-holder has due regard to potential PR implications and damage to RSPCA’s reputation and brand whilst carrying out their day to day work.

This job description is a statement of the job content agreed in May 2017.  It should not be seen as precluding future changes.