Face v Cunningham & anr [2021] WTLR 1261

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Winter 2021 #185

The claimant brought a claim to propound an alleged lost will of her late father (the 2017 will) against her sister (the first defendant) and her elder brother (the second defendant). The defendants alleged that the 2017 will, which was propounded on the basis of what was claimed to be a photocopy of it, was a forgery and that consequently the deceased died intestate. Expert evidence as to the genuineness of the alleged signature of the deceased to the 2017 will was inconclusive. The alleged witnesses to the 2017 will gave evidence.

The second defendant counterclaimed for a declar...

Lonsdale v Teasdale & ors [2021] WTLR 1309

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Winter 2021 #185

The claimant was the daughter of the deceased. The deceased had made a will dated 15 September 2017 of which the residuary beneficiary was D1, a friend of the deceased. A letter of intent stated that the claimant was not to benefit. The claimant, relying on medical evidence which included a poor score in a cognitive impairment screening test and a letter from the deceased’s GP opining that the deceased had likely suffered from dementia for a number of years before executing the 2017 will, challenged the 2017 will on the basis of a lack of testamentary capacity due to memory issues, and D...

Re Clitheroe [2021] WTLR 449

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2021 #183

The claimant (C) and the defendant (D) were the surviving children of the deceased. Her other child, E, had died of cancer without children. Although the deceased had been close to D and D’s daughter, this changed after a disagreement between D and the deceased about E’s medication, when the deceased threatened that she would not forgive or speak to D again. The Deputy Master found that D was not responsible for the estrangement and that the deceased had irrationally maintained that it was D who cut her out rather than the other way around. E’s death had a profound effe...

The British University in Dubai v Ebrahimi [2021] WTLR 703

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2021 #183

The deceased died on 4 July 2018 leaving a disputed will, dated 3 May 2018, probate of which was granted to the defendant, who together with his wife were the only beneficiaries.

The 2018 will was a holographic one-page will. On one side it bore the signatures of two witnesses who, it was common ground, had witnessed the testator’s signature on 4 May 2018 when not together at the same time and so did not validly attest the will in accordance with s9, Wills Act 1837. On the reverse of the will were two further signatures dated 3 May 2018, belonging to two further wit...

Scarle [2019] EWHC 2224 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Winter 2019 #177

A husband and his wife were both found dead at their home in October 2016. Both were found to have died of hypothermia, and the wife ‘s body in a more advanced state of decomposition. They left jointly-owned property which fell to be distributed differently depending on which of them died first. The parties were the executors of their respective estates. s184 Law of Property Act 1925 provides as follows: “In all cases where … two or more persons have died in circumstances rendering it uncertain which of them survived the other or others, such deaths shall (subject to an...

Constandas v Lysandrou [2018] EWCA Civ 613

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Spring 2018 #171

The claimant claimed a beneficial interest in a residential property registered in the joint names of the first and second defendants, his sister and brother-in-law respectively, on the basis that in 1959 he paid £600 towards the purchase price. By the time the matter came to trial in October 2015 both first and second defendants had lost capacity.

Giving judgment at first instance, HHJ Faber found both claimant and defendant witnesses to be unreliable. She concluded that on the evidence available she could not arrive at any finding as to who had made the £600 downpayment in 1959...

Burns v Burns [2016] EWCA Civ 37

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | June 2016 #160

On 21 May 2010 the deceased died, aged 89, leaving two sons: the appellant and the respondent. The respondent claimed pronouncement in solemn form of an alleged will of the deceased dated 26 July 2005, which divided the deceased’s estate equally between the appellant and the respondent. The appellant challenged the validity of the 2005 will on the basis that the deceased lacked testamentary capacity at the date of its purported execution and on the basis that the deceased did not know and approve of the contents of the same.

In September 2003 social services began to assist with t...

Sharp v Hutchins [2015] EWHC 1240 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | September 2015 #152

Mr Butcher was born on 4 October 1939. He lived alone in a bungalow at 42 Russell Road, Enfield, London. He had no surviving parents and no children. He was close to his only sibling, Yvonne Butcher, with whom he lived. She died in 2002. Mr Butcher died on 5 May 2013 aged 73. He left a net estate worth £482,295.00. He was in good physical and mental health at the time of his death.

It was likely that in 1991 Mr Butcher had made a will which left his estate to Yvonne. In 2003, he made a new will following her death (‘the 2003 will’). He did so without the involvement of...

Chada & ors v HMRC [2014] UKFTT 1061(TC)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | June 2015 #150

Kingston Smith were engaged to provide inheritance tax planning advice to Mr and Mrs Robin, who had terminal medical conditions, in early 2003. They wished to ensure that as much of their property should be available to support the survivor and, following the death of the survivor, their disabled daughter. Mr Chadda, who was a partner at Kingston Smith, discussed strategy at a meeting with Mr and Mrs Tobin based on utilising their inheritance tax nil rate bands, which would require them to make new wills and (in case of a beneficial joint tenancy) service of a notice of severance in rela...

Novoship (UK) Limited & ors v Nikitin & ors [2014] EWCA Civ 908

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | November 2014 #144

Mr Mikhaylyuk (M), a manager for the first respondent, NOUK, with responsibility for negotiating the charters of vessels owned by companies within the Novoship group, the remaining respondents, owed fiduciary duties to all the respondents. M had arranged a series of schemes by which he defrauded his principals and enriched himself and others by the payment of bribes given to him by those who chartered his principals’ vessels. These schemes included one concerning vessels chartered to companies owned and controlled by Mr Ruperti (R) which R then sub-chartered at substantially higher rates...