Construction: When a conflict of interest leads to court

Sally Goodger discusses a case which debated the circumstances in which a letter of wishes should form part of the will ‘All executors are potentially within the scope of s50 and if circumstances arise which impede the fulfilment of testamentary wishes, the court can exercise its statutory jurisdiction.’ Judge Russen QC handed down his judgment …
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Littlewood v Morley [2015] CHP 66

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2017 #168

L applied pursuant to s8(1) of the Administration of Estates Act 1990 to remove M as her co-executor and co-trustee of the estate of their father. The beneficiaries of the estate were L (50 percent) and M’s two children (50 percent). The estate was modest including some personal chattels, a small bank account and a property worth circa £210,000.

M and his wife had issued a claim against the estate for £170,229, allegedly owed for nursing care provided to the deceased (the litigation).

L averred that M should be removed as trustee due to the ligation ...

James & anr v Louisewilliams & ors [2015] EWHC 1166 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | December 2015 #155

Thomas Edward Weetman (the deceased) died on 3 November 2008. His last will was executed on 19 September 2008 (the will). The principal assets in his estate (the estate) were shares in his company Weetman (Haulage & Storage) Ltd (the company) which he had successfully built up during his lifetime, and shares in a property known as Pasturefields Enterprise Park (the property) which the deceased owned but which was occupied, in whole or in part, by the company. The estate was of considerable value but illiquid. The will provided that fifty percent of the deceased’s shares in the ...

Brudenell-Bruce v Moore & ors [2014] EWHC 3679 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | April 2015 #148

The claimant, Mr Brudenell-Bruce Earl of Cardigan brought a claim for breach of trust against two trustees of the Savernake Estate Trust (Mr Moore and Mr Cotton) of which he is a beneficiary. He also challenged the trustees’ remuneration and sought their removal as trustees.

The estate consists of numerous properties including a mansion, Tottenham House with an adjacent stable block. The estate is held on trust for sale and within a partnership with 49% of the partnership belonging to Lord Cardigan absolutely and 51% held by the trustees of the Children’s Trust, the be...

National Westminster Bank plc v Lucas & ors [2014] EWHC 653 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | May 2014 #139

The television presenter Jimmy Savile (the deceased) died on 29 October 2011. His estate had an approximate value of £3.3m after the deduction of various expenses incurred by the date of this hearing. By his will, the deceased appointed National Westminster Bank plc (the bank) to act as his personal representative. The deceased’s will makes gifts to a number of individual beneficiaries, one of which was the fifth defendant, the deceased’s niece, who was appointed to represent the interests of these individual beneficiaries (the individual beneficiaries). Thereafter the deceas...

Re the A Trust [2012] JRC169A

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | September 2013 #132

Some of the beneficiaries (the representor beneficiaries) of two Jersey trusts applied for an order to remove the protector of each trust from office. The beneficiaries felt that their relationship with the protector had broken down. The majority of the other adult beneficiaries who did not take part in the legal action shared this view.

The protector did not wish to retire. He felt he was the living guardian and enforcer of the settlors’ wishes. He insisted that he felt no hostility towards the beneficiaries.

Held (removing the protector):

  1. (1) Th...

Trustees: Anticipating family fallout

Scott has valuable lessons about the removal of trustees, as Ashley Crossley and Imogen Buchan-Smith explain In the judge’s provisional view, an independent professional trustee should be appointed as an additional trustee to ensure that decisions would be taken in the interests of the beneficiaries as a whole. The case is both a reminder of …
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Scott v Scott [2012] EWHC 2397 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | October 2012 #123

The claimant (Andrew) and the defendant (Martin) were brothers. They were the trustees of a trust created in 1991 by their mother (Elizabeth Scott). Andrew, Martin and Simon Jackson QC (a long standing friend of Elizabeth Scott) were the principal beneficiaries of the trust. There were other discretionary beneficiaries. Andrew had carried out the day to day administration of the trust since 2006.

The trust had formerly comprised a farm of 60 acres and a nursing home. Significant distributions were made. Andrew carried out significant works to a property known as the Barn, which wa...

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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