Probate: Promises, promises

The parable of the prodigal son has resonance in modern probate disputes. Alex Troup discusses ‘The judge’s finding that the deceased had deliberately broken the agreement to equalise the balance between her two children explained the difference between her old will and the disputed will.’ The parable of the prodigal son has all the makings …
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Capacity: Importance of the golden rule

Kevin Kennedy and Andrew Walls report on the test in Banks v Goodfellow ‘This judgment provides very significant support that the Banks v Goodfellow test is the sole test for the court to apply when judging testamentary capacity post mortem.‘ The High Court in James v James [2018] has ruled that the test in Banks …
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Elliott v Simmonds (costs) [2016] EWHC 962 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | October 2016 #163

On 7 April 2016 judgment was delivered pronouncing for the force and validity of the will dated 1 February 2012 (2012 will) of Kenneth William Jordan (Mr Jordan) in solemn form of law and ordering that a caveat entered by the first defendant in respect of his estate cease to have effect. The normal rule of costs is that costs follow the event. However, the Court has discretion to make a different order, taking into account, for example, the conduct of the parties. In a contentious probate claim, there are also specific exceptions to the normal rule arising under case law and under the Ci...

Wills: One step, two step…

Araba Taylor examines Re Butcher [2015], a case that puts the principles of Gill v Woodall into practice ‘The single test comes into its own where the court has enough facts, expert opinions and other evidence to enable it to make findings as to how the will was prepared and/or executed.’ Before the CA decision …
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Trust And Probate Claims: Counting the cost

Alexander Learmonth examines the effect of the Supreme Court’s decision on the costs of the claim for rectification of a will in Marley v Rawlings [2014] ‘When advising clients contemplating the risks of litigation, litigators should continue to adopt a cautious approach; clients must be ready to negotiate in good faith, rather than relying on …
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Executor’s Costs: Neutrality is key

Sian Hodgson gives the lowdown on executor’s costs in litigation, with reference to the recent case of Taylor v Saunders ‘An executor who has been involved in the preparation and execution of a will, in which he is also appointed executor, may naturally wish to “defend” that will’ The issue of an executor’s costs in …
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Inter Vivos Gifts: Ascertain the testator’s true intentions

Kloosman v Aylen has clarified the court’s approach towards the presumption against double portions. Matthew Hodson examines the case. Testators may feel rather differently about the division of their estate if they come to understand that it is worth rather more, or less, than they thought. The first question to consider when looking at the …
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Morris v Davies & ors [2012] EWHC 1981 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | November 2012 #124

The deceased, Owen Davies (D), was born in England but died in France. He was living in Belgium at the time but owned a house in England and had made a will in England some 12 years before his death under which the fifth defendant, his uncle Clive Davies (Clive), was interested in residue. He was not on good terms with his mother and siblings represented by the first to third defendants (the family defendants (FD)) when he made his will and they contested probate proceedings claiming that D had died domiciled in Belgium and that the will was null and void under Belgium law, pleaded that ...

Costs: The final say on domicile and costs

Edward Rowntree gives an update on Morris v Davies A will shall be treated as properly executed if its execution conformed to the internal law in force in the territory where it was executed or in the territory where, at the time of its execution or of the testator’s death, he was domiciled. or had …
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Wharton v Bancroft & ors (costs) [2012] EWHC 91 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | May 2012 #119

Mr Wharton (D) died in 2008 and was survived by his second wife, Maureen (M), and by his three adult daughters, Victoria, Gina and Amanda. D and M had been living together for 32 years but only married three days before D’s death. He had been discharged from hospital earlier that day so that he could spend his last few days at home. During this time his solicitor (B) visited him at home and took instructions from him for a will. This left his entire £4m estate to M, in contemplation of their marriage that took place the same evening. Essentially, D made a ‘deathbed will’...