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 ...

Re The K Trust Guernsey Judgment 31/2015

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | September 2016 #162

The settlor established a discretionary settlement (K Trust) under the laws of Guernsey in 1990. The protector, who was the first respondent, and the original trustee were friends and advisors of the settlor. B1, who was the first applicant, married the settlor in 1991 but they did not have any children. When the settlor died in 2001, B1 was the only beneficiary of the K Trust. She requested that consideration be given to adding some of her relatives as beneficiaries. The second respondent (who had replaced the original trustee in 2002), with the consent of the protector, added B1’...

Executors: A costly sibling clash

Wilby v Rigby [2015] has useful practitioner points on applications for the removal of executors. Nicholas Pointon reports ‘The key to understanding the court’s decision on costs lies in analysis of the offers being made by Mrs Wilby in her attempts to reach settlement. Mrs Wilby proposed that both executors stand down and be replaced …
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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 ...

Executors: Duties to maintaining the estate, as well as to beneficiaries

Jo Summers and Azeam Akram reflect on the balancing of competing claims made on Jimmy Savile’s estate ‘There is no doubt NatWest found itself in a difficult position, when faced with an unknown number of potential claimants.’What is the correct approach when an executor is faced with competing claims? How should an executor deal with …
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National Westminster Bank v Lucas [2014] EWCA Civ 1632

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | May 2015 #149

Jimmy Savile died in October 2011. His will dated 24 July 2006 named NatWest as his executor and left the residue of his estate to the Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust (the trust) which he had created in 1984. Probate was obtained on 8 March 2012 with a net estate of £4.3m. The bank placed s27 Trustee Act adverts on 5 January 2012.

Following an ITV programme broadcast on 4 October 2012 accusing Mr Savile of being a serial sex offender, NatWest began to receive letters from potential claimants seeking compensation from the estate. NatWest quickly appreciated that the estate c...

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...

Muckian & anr v Hoey & ors [2014] NICh 11

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | September 2014 #142

The deceased had died suddenly without making a will, with his wife, the first defendant, being appointed as the administratrix of his estate. Disagreement arose in relation to the administration of the estate, and the plaintiffs, two of the deceased’s daughters, issued proceedings pursuant to Art 35 of the Wills and Administration Proceedings (Northern Ireland) Order 1994, seeking removal of the existing administratrix and the appointment of a neutral professional person as administrator.

Held

Removing the first defendant as administratrix and app...