James & anr v Louisewilliams & ors [2015] EWHC 1166 (Ch)

WTLR Issue: December 2015 #155

In the matter of: THE ESTATE OF THOMAS EDWARD WEETMAN DECEASED

JOHN ARTHUR WILLIAM JAMES

STEPHEN NEIL MOUNTFORD

V

KATHLEEN LOUISEWILLIAMS

ELAINE CRISP FORMERLY BEESTON

EDWARD WILLIAMS

PATRICK WILLIAMS (children by their litigation friend W Dangerfield)

GEORGE WEETMAN-BEESTON

SALLY-ANN WEETMAN-BEESTON

FRANCESCA WEETMAN-BEESTON

RICHARD HARVEY

THOMAS CHEADLE

SANDRA TYSON

ANDREW BAILEY

DAVID VERNON

Analysis

Thomas Edward Weetman (the deceased) died on 3 November 2008. His last will was executed on 19 September 2008 (the will). The principal assets in his estate (the estate) were shares in his company Weetman (Haulage & Storage) Ltd (the company) which he had successfully built up during his lifetime, and shares in a property known as Pasturefields Enterprise Park (the property) which the deceased owned but which was occupied, in whole or in part, by the company. The estate was of considerable value but illiquid. The will provided that fifty percent of the deceased’s shares in the company should go to employees as long as they were working for the company at the date of his death. In the event that the employees did not work for the company at the date of death the gift of their shares did not take effect and were instead distributed amongst the grandchildren. The remaining fifty percent of his shares were left amongst family members on the trusts set out in the will (the will trusts), 20% for them absolutely, 20% on trust for his daughter and two grandsons who were minors. The remaining 10% were to be held upon trust for Elaine Beeston for life and then to her children in shares.

Counsel details

David Stockill (55 Temple Row, Birmingham B2 5LS, tel 0121 246 7010, email civil@st-philips.com) instructed by Hand Morgan & Owen (17 Martin St, Stafford, ST16 2LF, tel 01785 211411) appeared for the claimants.

David Mitchell (Fountain Court, Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham, B4 6DR, tel 0845 210 5555, email info@no5.com) instructed by Pickering & Butters (19 Greengate Street, Stafford, Staffs, ST16 2LU, tel 01785 603060, email info@pb4law.com) appeared for the 1st, 2nd, 5th to 7th and 9th defendants.

Nicola Preston (Fountain Court, Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham, B4 6DR, tel 0845 210 5555, email info@no5.com) instructed by Pickering & Butters (19 Greengate Street, Stafford, Staffs, ST16 2LU, tel 01785 603060, email info@pb4law.com) appeared for the 3rd and 4th defendants.

Paul Burton (Ground Floor, 3 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London, WC2A 3XL, tel 020 7242 4937, email clerks@3sb.law.co.uk) instructed by Tinsdills (Hays House, 25 Albion Street, Hanley, Staffordshire, ST1 1QF, tel 01782 262031) appeared for the 8th, 10th and 12th defendants.

Louise Corfield (Fountain Court, Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham, B4 6DR, tel 0845 210 5555, email info@no5.com) instructed by Astle Paterson (Astle Paterson, Clay House, 5 Horninglow Street, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 1NG, tel 01283 531366, email enquiries@astlepaterson.co.uk) appeared for the 11th defendant.

Legislation referenced

Legislation in bold has further reading - click to view.