Bracey v Curley & anr [2022] WTLR 419

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2022 #187

Mr Bracey passed away on 27 May 2018, leaving a will dated 31 July 2015. Under that will, Mr Bracey appointed the second defendant as his executrix and trustee. The grant of probate issued on 16 March 2020 to the second defendant. Mr Bracey had been predeceased by his wife, who, like Mr Bracey himself, had been unwell at the time at which Mr Bracey had executed his will. The case related to a dispute between Mr Bracey’s son (the claimant) and his daughter (the first defendant) concerning the proper construction of the will and whether it should be rectified.

The first issue was wh...

Johnston v Wackett [2022] WTLR 575

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2022 #187

Sidney Albert Johnston (the deceased) died on 27 March 2017. In prior proceedings, the deceased’s son, Colin Johnston (Colin), had brought a successful claim against the deceased’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the 1975 Act claim).

Following trial of the 1975 Act claim, Colin received a lump sum award of £125,000 (the award) and an order for costs.

A point of importance in the 1975 Act claim had been historic litigation between Colin and the deceased. This had resulted in a costs order being ...

Goodwin v Avison & ors WTLR(w) 2022-04

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Wills: The effect of joint tenancies

Kieran Forsyth reviews a case that demonstrates the importance of obtaining a notice of severance of a joint tenancy and filing it at the Land Registry Dunbabin is notable for the fact that it demonstrates that the execution of mirror wills can be sufficient to sever a beneficial joint tenancy, even if those wills are …
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Wills: High Court rules against multimillionaire’s 2014 will

Documentary records were critical in establishing lack of knowledge and consent in a high-value judgment over an illiterate settlor’s will. Kevin Modiri discusses One would expect that if after just two years, a testator made a significant change to their will that cut out three residuary beneficiaries who together stood to inherit over £46m, a …
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Wills: Documentary evidence trumps witness testimony

Oliver Auld and Lydia Kember examine the inherent unreliability of witness testimony based on memory Solicitors will now be under a personal obligation to avoid producing witness statements that are over-lawyered or in any way present a narrative which does not match the witness’s own recollection. There is an inherent difficulty that many challenges to …
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Equiom (Isle of Man) Ltd & ors v Velarde & ors [2022] WTLR 109

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Spring 2022 #186

Under a settlement made in 1974 by the deceased’s father, the deceased became the life tenant of a fund, over which property she had a power of appointment exercisable in favour of her children by deed revocable or irrevocable, or by will. In 1981, by a deed of appointment with effect from her death, the deceased appointed the fund between her three children. By a deed of revocation in 1997, expressed to be supplemental to the settlement and the 1981 deed of appointment, with effect from her death, the fund was appointed on trust for only two of her three children. The deceased made her ...

Partington v Rossiter [2022] WTLR 257

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Spring 2022 #186

The deceased was domiciled in Russia and entitled to assets in Jersey. He made a will in the UK in 2013. He had initially prepared a draft himself, which defined his estate as his property, money and investments in the UK, and made specific legacies to his children in respect of his Jersey assets. The deceased’s solicitor advised him that the will did not need to refer to specific assets and it was redrafted. Clause 1 of the executed will stated ‘I confirm that this will only has effect in relation to my UK assets’. It divided the residuary estate equally between his children. The deceas...

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...

Petition by Vindex Trustees Ltd [2021] WTLR 1437

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Winter 2021 #185

The will and codicils of the late Estelle Brownrigg contained a gift of a portion of the residue of her estate to a charity named as the ‘Nelson Mandela Educational Fund, South Africa’. Despite an extensive search, nothing could be found to suggest that any charity with that name had ever existed. The sole executor of her estate petitioned for directions from the court as to whether the petitioner as executor could distribute a portion of the deceased’s residual estate to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, on the basis that the fact that no charity with the specified name had ever exist...