Barnaby v Johnson [2019] EWHC 3344 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | 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 challen...

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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Probate: A modern shipwreck

Who died first? Scott Taylor and Hayley Robinson discuss a case which explores the modern approach to an age-old problem ‘Judge Kramer raised that the facts surrounding the death are equivocal and the picture is incomplete even when considered in conjunction with the evidence of the pathologists.’ In the recent case of Scarle v Scarle …
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Gupta v Gupta 2018 EWHC 1353 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2019 #175

The Claimant (‘Rakesh’) sought to pronounce against the only will made by his late mother, Urmila Rani Gupta (‘the Will’). The Defendants were his two siblings (‘Naresh’ and ‘Sashi’), their children and his own children. The only party actively defending the claim was Naresh – he also brought a Part 20 Claim to appoint an independent administrator of the estate. The Part 20 Claim was not opposed.

The Deceased and her husband Laxmi made mirror wills in November 1998. Laxmi died before the Deceased, so the effect of the Will was that ...

Probate: Avoiding deadlock

How can an estate be admitted to probate when there is a caveat in place? Clare Kelly discusses an unusual case which has lessons for the drafting of LPAs ‘In order to progress the administration, it was necessary for the executors to take action to remove the caveat. However, at this point the estate became …
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Probate: Ashes to ashes

Disposal of a corpse: who has the right to decide after death? Amy Berry explains ‘Judge Boggis QC confirmed that the factual matrix is relevant as are the views of all sides and the wishes of the deceased, but that ultimately the court is required to find a solution which does fairness and justice to …
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Probate: Out in the ether

Digital assets risk being overlooked during the probate process. Sue Mackintosh and Joshua Eaton report ‘If digital assets with a financial value are not accounted for, the estate of the deceased will not receive the assets, and the beneficiaries will receive less.’ In administering an estate, the personal representatives (PRs) of a deceased individual must …
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Probate: Breaking the deadlock

John Dickinson considers how the High Court approves expenses in estate accounts ‘The court pointed out that it would be wasteful if, in every case, for their own protection, the personal representatives were to be obliged to engage the costs assessment system before being able to enter the sum concerned in their estate accounts for …
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Wilson v Lassman Neutral citation: [2017] EWHC 85 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Winter 2018 #170

The claimant sought an order pronouncing against the will of his late father 
Gerald Wilson (the ‘deceased’) dated 9 October 2010, and revoking the grant of 
probate obtained by the defendant, as executor and sole beneficiary. The claimant contended that the will was not validly executed in compliance with s9 of the Wills Act 1837 (the ‘1837 Act’).


The will had been written, in manuscript by the deceased on a will form and was purportedly attested by two witnesses, Mr Byrne and Mr McKinley. It contained a proper attestation clause. It was not disputed t...

Probate: When to distribute

Case management can be tricky when the forfeiture rule may be invoked. Natasha Dzameh reports ‘As a matter of principle, neither the inquest nor the civil proceedings should take precedence over the other, bearing in mind that the question of forfeiture lay at the centre of the civil proceedings but could not be determined by …
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