If the application of a legacy in a will is in doubt, and no Trust has been created, an application for a Royal Sign Manual direction should be made to this department. In the situation where there is doubt as to the application of a legacy in a will, and any form of Trust has been created to administer the gift, an application for a cy-près scheme should be made to the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

Royal Sign Manual direction

Royal Sign Manual is, literally, the signature of the monarch. Directions disposing of charitable gifts were signed by the Queen until 3 May 1986 when she delegated her power to dispose of charitable gifts to the Attorney General for England and Wales.

In Northern Ireland, under section 23(2) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, as respects transferred matters, the prerogative and executive powers of Her Majesty are exercisable on Her Majesty’s behalf by any minister or Northern Ireland department.

In charity matters, a Royal Sign Manual direction is made by the minister or this department.  

How to apply for a Sign Manual direction

The application for a Royal Sign Manual direction should be sent to the Charities Team. Please note that the department will in every case need a sealed copy of the grant of probate or letters of administration with a copy of the will attached.

Useful link

Charity Commission for Northern Ireland

Back to top