British Red Cross v Werry [2017] EWHC 875 (Ch)

WTLR Issue: Summer 2017 #168

1. THE BRITISH RED CROSS

2. WWF-UK

3. THE BROOKE HOSPITAL FOR ANIMALS

4. THE RSPCA

V

1. EDWARD WERRY AND GEOFFREY GARCIA

2. DONALD FRANCIS HARDING

3. ROSEMARY ANN FLOREY

Analysis

Patricia Deeley (Miss Deeley) lived with her unmarried partner, Peter Harding (Mr Harding) in his flat at 87 Beckenham Lane, Bromley (the property) from 1962 to 2008. When Mr Harding died on 11 August 2008, it was believed (incorrectly) that he had not left a will and, therefore, the intestacy rules regulated the succession to his estate. Letters of Administration were granted to one of Mr Harding’s cousins, Maurice John Littlewood (Mr Littlewood) on 2 March 2010. An action brought by Miss Deeley under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the 1975 Act) was settled on the basis that she should have a life interest in the property and that the estate would make a payment towards repairs and replacements amounting to £25,000. The settlement was embodied in an order of District Judge Stewart in the Kingston upon Thames County Court on 17 June 2011. By a deed of trust dated 18 July 2011 Mr Littlewood transferred the property to solicitors to hold upon trust for Miss Deeley for life with remainder for the beneficiaries entitled on the intestacy of Mr Harding. Miss Deeley lived at the property until her death on 26 September 2014. During the course of clearing out the property it was discovered that Mr Harding had made a will on 3 November 1973 leaving, inter alia, an absolute interest in the property to Miss Deeley. Subsequently, the grant of Letters of Administration to Mr Littlewood was revoked and a grant of probate made in favour of the respondents, who were the executors of Miss Deeley’s will. On 16 March 2016 the respondents assented and assigned to the appellants, who were the beneficiaries under Miss Deeley’s will, her right of action in the proceedings under the 1975 Act. The appellants appealed (with leave) against the order made by District Judge Stewart in the Kingston upon Thames County Court.

Counsel details

Mr R Wilson QC (Serle Court Chambers, 6 New Square, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3QS, tel 020 7242 6105, email clerks@serlecourt.co.uk) instructed by Withers LLP (16 Old Bailey, London EC4M 7EG, tel 020 7597 6000, email enquiries.uk@withersworldwide.com) appeared on behalf of the appellants.
The respondents did not attend and were not represented.

Cases referenced

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