James v Scudamore & ors [2023] WTLR 961

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Autumn 2023 #192

The deceased died on 21 June 2010. His will, dated 6 March 1998, gave a life interest in the matrimonial home to his second wife, with remainders to the claimant and his brother, who were children of the deceased’s first marriage. A codicil, dated 26 December 2002, replaced the life interest with an absolute gift to the second wife. The deceased’s second wife obtained probate, relying on a copy of the codicil as the original could not be found, and administered the estate. The second wife made a will by which 70% of her residuary estate went to her sister, and 30% to the claimant’s three...

McElroy v McElroy [2023] WTLR 647

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2023 #191

On 18 February 2011, Ray McElroy passed away, survived by his wife of five months, Lynne, and his brother, Paul. Prior to his marriage to Lynne, Ray had made a will pursuant to which Paul was his sole beneficiary. After marrying Lynne, Ray did not execute a further will. On 24 August 2011, Lynne was granted letters of administration in respect of Ray’s estate, having sworn that Ray was domiciled in England and Wales and was intestate. Lynne proceeded to administer Ray’s estate and distribute the assets, including selling a property within the estate in part exchange for a new residence i...

Selvarajah v Selvarajah & ors WTLR(w) 2023-05

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Morley v Morley & anr [2023] WTLR 299

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Spring 2023 #190

In 2007, the claimant gave her father (Ray) a sum of £150,000. The payment was a contribution towards a house (the property) that Ray intended to purchase with his wife, the first defendant.

The claimant alleged an agreement by which, in exchange for the payment of £150,000, Ray would leave his half-share of the property to the claimant and her brother.

The purchase of the property was completed using a TP1 transfer form. The form was signed by the third-party transferor and the box was ticked providing for the transferees, Ray and the first defendant, to hold the property ...

Dunbabin & ors v Dunbabin [2022] WTLR 917

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Autumn 2022 #188

Angela and John Dunbabin purchased a property known as 29 Beverley Place, Springfield, Milton Keynes (the property) in 1983. The conveyance was silent as to the beneficial interests though it contained a declaration that either of the purchasers could give a valid receipt for capital money arising on a disposition of land. With the assistance of Terry Oldfield, a professional will writer, they executed ‘mirror’ wills giving their own share of the property to trustees upon trust for sale and to hold the net rents and profits and the net income from the sale proceeds in trust for the other...

St Clair v King & anr [2022] WTLR 703

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2022 #187

The defendants were the executors of the deceased’s last will dated 20 May 2009 (the 2009 will). The claimant, who was the stepdaughter of the deceased, challenged the 2009 will. There were seven issues at trial:

  1. (i) whether 2007 wills made by the deceased and her husband (the claimant’s father) were mutual wills such that if the 2009 will was admitted to probate, the estate needed to be administered to give effect to a constructive trust reflecting the terms of the 2007 will;
  2. (ii) whether there was a contract between the claimant and the deceased before the 2009 wi...

Wills: Documentary evidence trumps witness testimony

Oliver Auld and Lydia Kember examine the inherent unreliability of witness testimony based on memory Solicitors will now be under a personal obligation to avoid producing witness statements that are over-lawyered or in any way present a narrative which does not match the witness’s own recollection. There is an inherent difficulty that many challenges to …
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Rowland v Blades WTLR(w) 2022-02

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Wrangle v Brunt & anr [2021] WTLR 1143

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Autumn 2021 #184

This was an appeal from a first instance judgment in proceedings relating to the estate of Dean Brunt (Dean), who tragically died aged 35 on 8 December 2007, when he was hit by a train. On 25 June 2008, the first defendant/appellant (Marlene), who was Dean’s mother, obtained letters of administration in relation to Dean’s estate on the basis that he died intestate.

Over ten years later, in November 2018, the claimant/respondent, the deceased’s uncle by marriage (Bob), started the proceedings, seeking to revoke the letters of administration issued to Marlene, on the basis that a pu...

Eade v Hogg & ors [2021] WTLR 507

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2021 #183

Mr Nodes (the deceased) passed away on 8 March 2019. The deceased’s estate included a large shareholding in a family company (the company). Each of the deceased’s wife and his former colleague (the claimant) also possessed small shareholdings in their own name. By his will, dated 22 October 2015, the deceased left his large shareholding in the company on trust for his wife for life, subject to an overriding power of appointment in favour either or both of his wife and his former colleague, allowing for an appointment of shares ‘up to such number… as shall when added to ...