It occasionally happens that an almshouse resident who is perhaps better able, informed or equipped is asked by less able residents to pursue on their behalf certain contentious matters which may arise between residents and trustees. If you find yourself so elected you should be aware of the tenor and toxicity of the Charity Commissioners’ advice to trustees cited ante. For your protection therefore we most strongly urge you to obtain from each individual resident a written authorisation to act on their behalf. This will save having to obtain affidavits (sworn statements) from the parties after the event. The authorisations should be framed in the following terms:
To all to whom it may concern:
In the matter of [insert the name the almshouse charity] and specifically the issue of [here identify the matter at issue] I hereby appoint [here insert your own full name] to make such inquiries and to communicate with any third party as he/she shall consider necessary for the resolution of the matter at issue and to make such representations to the trustees on my behalf as he/she shall think fit.
Keep such authorisations in a safe place. Do not offer these documents, not even a photocopy, to the trustees; it is sufficient to mention if pressed that you have been asked to act on behalf of certain other residents in the matter at issue. If a consequent threat of eviction materialises then and only then should you render these documents to the trustees and in photocopy only. Keep the originals for your appointed solicitors. It could so be that you have a latent cause of action for defamation which should swerve inventive trustees from damaging action.
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