Evans v Evans & anr [2020] WTLR 1231

Winter 2020

The claimant was married to the deceased, and was the sole beneficiary of the deceased’s estate. The claimant, who suffered from motor neurone disease and lacked capacity, was represented by her litigation friend, her daughter. The defendants were the executors of the deceased’s estate, and were the sons of the deceased and the claimant, and the brothers of the claimant’s litigation friend.

In contested probate proceedings, the claimant sought, inter alia, an order removing the defendants as executors of the deceased’s estate and the appointment of an independent administrator.

Mackay v Wesley [2020] WTLR 1359

Winter 2020

The appellant was appointed a trustee of the Ellen Morris 1990 Settlement (settlement) by a deed of appointment and retirement of trustees dated 19 March 2003. Her co-trustees were her father, the defendant, and Browne Jacobson Trustees Ltd (BJTL). Previously, a decision had been taken to embark on a ‘round the world’ capital gains tax avoidance scheme in relation to the settlement. This involved appointing Mauritian trustees and realising offshore gains where there was no capital gains tax, distributing the proceeds and then appointing UK-resident trustees in the same tax year of assess...

The Donkey Sanctuary & ors v Bacchus & ors [2020] WTLR 1447

Winter 2020

Leonard Dunthorn (Mr Dunthorn) died in 2018, leaving a will pursuant to which the residue of his estate, after a pecuniary legacy, was to pass to his sister Ruby Watts (Mrs Watts), provided she survived him by 28 days. If she did not do so, the residue was to be divided between ten named charities. Mrs Watts survived Mr Dunthorn by more than 28 days and became entitled to his residue. She in turn passed away in 2019, leaving a will which left her residue (after a number of pecuniary legacies) to 11 named charities, the first ten of which were those charities that had been named in Mr Dun...

Re Boyes [2013] EWHC 4027 (Ch)

Autumn 2020 #180

The testator (T) died in 2010 aged 86 with an estate of £391,573. The claimant (C) was the elderly sister of T’s late wife and sought to propound his last will dated November 2009, which left the estate as to two thirds to her and one third to the first defendant (D1), T’s daughter, who was also executor along with the second defendant. The third and fourth defendants (D3, D4), T’s two sons, challenged the validity of the 2009 will on grounds of lack of testamentary capacity and/or fraudulent calumny allegedly perpetrated by D1 (who was the beneficiary under C’s will). D3 and D4 therefor...

Christodoulides v Marcou [2017] EWHC 2632 (Ch)

Autumn 2020 #180

The claimant and the defendant were sisters, the daughters of Agni Iacovou (the testatrix). By her will dated 7 August 2012 (the will), made shortly before her death two days later, the testatrix gave her entire net residuary estate to the claimant whom she appointed to be her executrix. The claimant issued proceedings on 18 June 2014 seeking an order that the court pronounce for the will in solemn form. The defendant defended the claim on the basis that the will had been procured by fraudulent calumny – that the claimant had poisoned the mind of the testatrix by casting untruthful asper...

Smith & anr v Stanley & ors [2019] EWHC 2168 (Ch)

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...

Barnaby v Johnson [2019] EWHC 3344 (Ch)

Spring 2020

Mrs Maudlin Bascoe (T) died on 29 August 2015. Cs sought to prove a will dated 27 April 2005 (the 2005 will) naming them as executors. C1 was T’s son. C2 was T’s former solicitor and the draftsman of her wills from 1988 2005. D was T’s daughter. T also had two other children – a son, G, (who pre-deceased her) and a daughter, B (who died after T in 2017).

Under the 2005 will, D received a legacy of £100. There was an earlier will dated 25 October 1992 (the 1992 will) leaving D a legacy of £10,000 the validity of which D did not dispute at trial.

D challenged the 2005 will, a...

Estera v Singh [2019] EWHC 2039 (Ch)

Spring 2020

The Petitioners brought an unfair prejudice petition against the First Respondent in respect of their management of the Fourth Respondent (the Company). Following a liability trial, the First Respondents and the Company were ordered to purchase the Petitioners’ shares in the Company at a price to be determined. A quantum trial followed in which the purchase price was determined and an initial sum to be paid on account of the full price within 28 days, with the balance to be paid within 6 months. The wording of the order was left to the parties.

A purchase from the First Petitioner...

Hendry v Hendry & Pertiwi [2019] EWHC 1976 (Ch)

Spring 2020

The claimant, who was born in the Philippines, married Michael Frederick Hendry (the deceased) on 31 October 2003. He was 20 years older and already had three adult children. They entered into a pre-nuptial agreement which provided that in the event of the marriage failing the claimant would receive a lump sum of £10,000 and a one-way flight to the Philippines. In the event, they separated on 24 June 2016. The deceased made a will on 6 August 2016 dividing his residuary estate equally between the first and second defendants and appointing the third defendant as executor. The claimant pet...

Todd v Parsons [2019] EWHC 3366 (Ch)

Spring 2020

T died in 2009, aged 96 years, leaving two adult children, her son, who was the claimant (C), and her daughter, who was the third defendant (D3). By a will document dated 25 September 2008, T appointed the first defendant (D1) and the second defendant (D2) as her executors. D1 was the daughter of D3 and T’s only grandchild. D2 was the solicitor who drafted the will document. Both remained neutral in the proceedings.

In June 2017, C brought a claim for probate in solemn form of the will document and for an order removing D1 and D2 as executors and appointing an independent personal...