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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10400
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I founded a charity to provide funeral services and brought

Customer Question

I founded a charity to provide funeral services and brought in a some members to act as Trustees. We then registered it with the company house and it was declined as we did not meet the objectives of being a charity organisation.
Susequently we registered it with the company house as a LTD Company but was then dissolved after a couple of years as all the Directors Resigned.
I then carried on operating as self employed business and registered it with the HMRC. Now after 3 years these so called Trustees are coming after me to say that they are the Trustees of this organisation and that I have to pay back the money I made for the funeral services I conducted.
Where do I stand with this ?
Can these people still claim that they are Trustees when they are not registered with the Chairty commission.
How can I get them to stop their claim when I am registered with the HMRC?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

Can you explain exactly how this service worked please why they are only now coming to you? I need full background detail please. Thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for getting back to me. We aimed for the organization to be a charity but it was rejected by the charity commission as we did not meet the aims and objectives of being a charity.
We then changed its names and registered it with the company house as a Ltd company. This company was then dissolved as the directors resigned . I then went back using the older company name and traded as a self employed and registered with HMRC for tax purposes. Now these ex directors are claiming they are the trustees and I have to pay back the money I made in conducting funeral services.
These people are not registered as Trustees of any organization with the charity commission and neither are they registered with the company house.
They have signed a letter to say that I am dismissed when in fact they have no mandate as they themselves are not bonafide trustees.
I hope that makes but please let me know if youn require further info
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

Can I word the facts slightly differently please and tell me if that’s the situation or not.

Several of you, including these “trustees” had the idea of setting up this funeral service as charity.

For whatever reason, but mainly due to the charitable purpose element not being sufficient, but anything closed down.

Everyone went their separate ways.

You thought it was still quite a good idea even on a commercial basis and hence, you set up the business on a commercial basis.

These people, having now see that it was quite a good idea are coming back claiming that they have a part of it.

Putting it that different way, is that it?

Have they approached you personally or via solicitors?

Are they saying that you must pay the money back to the people that utilised your services?

What is the substance of their claim?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for getting back to me.
Since the organisation was not registered with the charity commission I decided to go alone and did it on a commercial basis without their input. They have written to me as the so called trustees of the organisation claiming that I have to put back the money that I have made. The letter came directly from them and not via a solicitor. However they have stated that they intend to take this further and that there was a letter on its way to me.
What puzzles me is how can they claim to be the trustees when the organisation is not even registered with the charity commission. Surely that is not right. and if they are claiming to be the trustees then they must be registered as a charity which they are not.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

It appears that there was going to be a business which was going to be a charity and they were the trustees and it didn’t happen.

Then, you decided to do it on your own.

The only 2 common factors are you and the business idea.

Provided you have not claimed to be a charity in your latest incarnation and have not said that you have charitable purposes, but I can’t see what you have done wrong and I cannot see why they should claim to be trustees (there is nothing for them to be trustees of) and I can’t see why they are suggesting that you should pay the money back.

To be honest, I find the suggestion, based upon the fact you’ve given me, a little bizarre. Perhaps they just don’t know what they’re talking about.

I think what probably happened is that they are assuming that you have carried on down the charity route and have done so fraudulently without the charity being registered and as they were going to be trustees of the charity they feel in some way liable.

My suggestion would be for you to take the legal initiative and get solicitors to write to them saying exactly what’s happened and that this is not a charity, it’s not the same organisation or entity, has no connection with it, and it’s purely a commercial organisation with no links to any charity and doesn’t purport to be one.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please rate the service positive. It is an important part of the process by which experts get paid.

We can still exchange emails if anything needs clarification.

Best wishes.