Wills: Trial and error

Alexander Learmonth QC and James McKean report on a case on construction and rectification If the will does not accord with the deceased’s intentions, the wrong is irreversible. Correcting that wrong must be more important than classifying how it came about. There is a will, a company, and two beneficiaries. The will gives 26% of …
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Trusts: Lost in translation

Ross Pizzuti-Davidson looks at interpreting foreign law concepts in English law trusts The court’s judgment in PTNZ in relation to the protector’s role may be a welcome clarification given the surprising lack of authority on the point of whether a protector’s consent rights are joint or review powers. International estate planners can find themselves playing …
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Charitable gifts: Needing a steer

A failure to correctly identify beneficiaries of charitable gifts in a will can result in the failure of that gift. Laura Abbott examines the factors that will be considered The original will file had been destroyed and so there was no evidence of the deceased’s precise instructions. The judge was therefore prepared to look at …
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H.M. Attorney General v Zedra Fiduciary Services (UK) Ltd & ors [2020] WTLR 1287

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Winter 2020 #181

In 1927 a partner (GF) in Barings Brothers & Co (Barings) transferred cash and securities of almost £500,000 (the National Fund) to Barings in anticipation of the execution of a deed of trust by Barings, which was executed on 9 January 1928 (the deed). Other donors, including Lord Dalziel, subsequently made further contributions to the National Fund. By clause 2 of the deed Barings held the National Fund as trustees upon trust to accumulate income and profits until the date fixed by the trustees as being the date when, either alone or together with other funds then available for the ...

Knipe v The British Racing Drivers’ Motor Sport Charity & ors [2020] WTLR 1333

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Winter 2020 #181

By clause 8 of his will the deceased gave the residue of his estate to four institutions in various shares, including a gift in clause 8(a) of a 50% share of his residuary estate to ‘the British Racing Drivers Club Benevolent Fund’ and in clause 8(d) of a 10% share to ‘the Cancer Research Fund’.

There was no institution with the name of the British Racing Drivers Club Benevolent Fund. The second defendant, the British Racing Drivers’ Club, was a well-known unincorporated association, but not a registered charity. The only benevolent fund administered by the second defendant was th...

PTNZ v AS & ors [2020] WTLR 1423

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Winter 2020 #181

In the course of the claimant’s application as trustee of four discretionary trusts in similar terms governed by English law for the blessing of momentous decisions, AS (the settlor and the original protector of the trusts) died.

The trusts had been varied soon after they were declared to expand the powers of the protector to give and withhold consent to the exercise of powers by the trustee. In the absence of a protector the trustee was free to exercise those powers without obtaining a third-party consent. The trusts were administered in Jersey on behalf of the claimant, a profes...

Re Wales [2020] WTLR 1121

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Autumn 2020 #180

The deceased died on 17 February 2015 as a widower with no children. He left a will dated 22 December 2008. The claimants were his executors.

Clause 7 of the will left the residuary estate to ‘such all of my nephew’s and niece’s children’. At the date of his death, the deceased had two blood nephews and two blood nieces, and also three nephews by marriage and one niece by marriage. A further nephew by marriage had died in 1992 leaving a son. The claimants sought directions as to whether the gift was just to the nieces and nephews by blood, or whether it was also to the nieces and ...

Smith & anr v Stanley & ors [2020] WTLR 1059

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Autumn 2020 #180

The testator died in March 2015. By his last will of 14 March 2015 (the will) the testator gave the sum of £4.2m (the legacy fund) to his trustees to be held upon trust to pay the income to his widow for life, subject to an overriding power of appointment in clause 4 of the will for the benefit of a class of discretionary beneficiaries including the testator’s sister. The testator left a letter of wishes for his trustees which indicated how he wanted his estate to be shared between the various members of the discretionary class. By clause 19 of the will the statutory power of advancement...

Bowack & ors v Saxton [2020] WTLR 777

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Autumn 2020 #180

The claimants as respective settlor and trustees of two trusts of investment bonds sought declarations that the trusts had been completely constituted, or alternatively rectification so that such constitution has been properly made. The application was unopposed.

In 2013 the claimants (who were husband and wife) were advised by an independent financial adviser to purchase bonds issued by AXA (Isle of Man) Ltd, which on purchase would be settled on discretionary trusts for the benefit of a class of potential beneficiaries, including their only child, the defendant. The claimants we...

Jeffreys & ors v Scruton & ors [2020] WTLR 575

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2020 #179

The first claimant was the executor of the will of the late Laura Jeffreys. He and the second and third claimants were the trustees of the trusts declared by the will. The first to fifteenth defendants were the deceased’s nieces and nephews. The seventeenth defendant was appointed to represent the interests of the deceased’s unborn nieces and nephews of the whole blood. The claim against the sixteenth defendant was discontinued.

Clause 5 of the will created a discretionary trust. The beneficiaries of the trust were defined as the deceased’s son (who predeceased her), any issue of ...