Burial disputes: Cohabitees on the back foot

Laura Abbott examines a case that provides a useful summary of the current approach to a dispute over the deceased’s final resting place The deceased cannot bind their personal representatives as to how their body should be disposed of, but of course the wishes of the deceased are important and should be taken into regard. …
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Borrows v HM Coroner for Preston
 [2018] WTLR 365

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2018 #172

.This case concerned the burial arrangements of Liam McManus (Liam), who 
took his life aged just 15. Liam had a difficult upbringing. His parents 
were heroin addicts and so he was brought up by his maternal grandparents 
in Liverpool until he entered foster care aged 5. Two years later he moved in 
with the claimant, Mr Burrows, (who was Liam’s paternal uncle) and his family in St Helens and a full residence order was made in favour of the claimant 
and his wife. Mr and Mrs Burrows were described as his psychological

In the year before he died, Liam made contact with h...

Re JS (Disposal of Body) [2016] EWHC 2859 (Fam)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | March 2017 #167

JS, a 14-year-old, terminally ill girl wanted to pursue cryonic preservation: the speculative and controversial scientific theory of freezing a dead body in the hope that resuscitation and a cure may be possible in the distant future. JS’s parents disagreed about what should happen.

JS’s parents were divorced. For most of JS’s life she had lived with her mother (M) and had no face-to-face contact with her father (F), who was also suffering from cancer, since 2008. M and F had a very bad relationship. M supported JS’s wishes.

At the start of proceedin...

Estate Administration: Put to rest?

Martin Beard and Zoe Fleetwood discuss the issues that can arise on disposal of a body and cryo-preservation ‘In Re JS the judge made clear it was not the role of the court to give directions for the disposal of the body, but rather to resolve disagreement about who might make the arrangements.’ Many will …
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Anstey v Mundle & anr [2016] EWHC 1073 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | July/August 2016 #161

This was a claim brought by Valerie Anstey, one of the three daughters of the late George Carty. Valerie contended that Mr Carty should be buried in England. Her half sister, Sonia Mundle and her cousin, Cynthia Allison argued that he should be buried in Jamaica. Valerie was supported by another half sister, Stephanie Watson.

Owing to the defendants’ failure to undertake not to repatriate the body pending resolution of the dispute, Valerie sought and was granted an urgent interim injunction forbidding the removal of the body from the jurisdiction. Owing to the urgency of th...

Ibuna & anr v Arroyo & anr [2012] EWHC 428 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | June 2012 #120

Congressman A was resident in both California and the Philippines. He was domiciled in the Philippines. He died while receiving treatment in the UK. There was a dispute between A’s estranged second wife (Mrs A) and his life partner (Ms I) as to who should take possession of A’s body and make arrangements for burial in the Philippines. Ms I initiated proceedings in England; Mrs A began proceedings in the Philippines. Mrs A intended (as was her right as a wife under Filipino law) to dispose of the body and have a wake at her home (from which A had, prior to his death, been excl...

Khan v Crossland

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | June 2012 #120

Dennis Griffiths (testator) died on 30 October 2008 leaving an estate worth about £430,000. By his last will, made nine years previously, the testator had appointed as his executors two partners in a firm of will writers known as ‘Will Drafters’ (respondents). The sole beneficiaries were the testator’s two stepchildren, Ruth Savidge and David Khan (applicant). The respondents initially proposed to charge 3-4% of the value of the estate to carry on its administration and the beneficiaries, who had already reached an informal agreement as to how to deal with the estate, i...

Probate: Jarndyce revisited

Khan v Crossland reveals flaws in the current method of passing over executors, as Michael O’Sullivan discusses ‘HHJ Behrens rejected the submission made by the defendants’ counsel that the executors needed to disentitle themselves to a grant before an order under s116 SCA could be made.’ The decision in Khan v Crossland was made by …
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Probate: Body matters

Jane Evans-Gordon discusses the quandaries that can arise on the disposal of a dead body ‘Bodies cannot be bought or sold, stolen, criminally damaged or, as was once tried, seized by creditors.’ Thomas Mann said that ‘It is a fact that a man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own’.Regrettably, while the Lord …
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