Contentious probate: Conflicts between trustees and beneficiaries

Property trusts without liquid assets and no right to rent can cause difficulties for trustees facing proceedings. Nicola Phillipson analyses a case that considers these issues and more The distinction between situations where trustees have put themselves in a position of conflict and where they have been put there by the terms of the trust …
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Costs: Action not to be taken lightly

Laura Abbott sets out the key principles concerning costs and contentious probate proceedings Any claim should be approached on the basis that costs follow the event. Parties must therefore be willing, and able, to pay their own costs and those of their opponent if they are unsuccessful. Goodwin v Avison [2021] is a useful précis …
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Probate: Pride and prejudice

Paul Willan outlines a case which shows the importance of executors understanding to whom they owe their obligations The problem was that the executors were confusing their obligations to the estate with their obligations to the discretionary beneficiaries. Practitioners will be aware that family arguments are often the most difficult of cases, whether the context …
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Wills: Sealing royal wills – justifiable secrecy?

Natasha Dzameh reviews the High Court’s decision to seal the will of His late Royal Highness Prince Philip In determining whether the will and other probate documents would be open to inspection, the public interest issue would likely be determinative. The sovereign’s will need not be proved by a grant of probate. However this is …
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Probate: In at the deep end

Lessons can be learned about trial conduct when litigants appear in person and more in Lonsdale v Teasdale. Elis Gomer elucidates While showing a ‘real doubt’ as to capacity is not a trivial requirement in evidential terms, once that has been done, the burden will be on the party seeking to propound the will to …
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Probate: A far from minor inconvenience

The court has provided welcome clarity on applications to court for authority to sell a property abroad on behalf of a minor. Remi Aiyela explains The judge decided that it was plainly in Ilyas’ best interests that the property be sold at a good sale price higher than the current valuation. Re Shanavazi [2021] was …
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Jurisdiction: Pakistan or England?

Alexa Payet provides some useful guidance on cross-border probate disputes In deciding whether Pakistan was the natural and more appropriate forum for the trial, the court applied the factors outlined in Spiliada. In the case of Rehman v Hamid [2019], Mrs Ali was born in pre-partition India in 1942. Upon partition Mrs Ali and her …
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Company law and probate: The burden of office

Richard Monkcom, Sadie Cunningham and Harvey Pare set out the steps companies should take to avoid court proceedings in the event of the death of a sole shareholder or director This decision came as a welcome reminder that the court has Companies Act powers which may assist other executors or personal representatives in similar positions, …
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Musings from Manchester: If it ain’t broke…

Geoffrey Shindler questions recent changes to the probate process, which have created delays for practitioners and their clients Probate is now becoming contentious, not in the sense of clients arguing with each other but rather because of the frustration that practitioners and clients are experiencing as a result of current changes to the probate system. …
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