Estate proceeds given to needy triggers inheritance claim

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As reported in the national press recently, in an inheritance dispute set to be heard by the High Court, a man will claim that he was given the £400,000 estate of his brother before he died and then distributed it to people in financial need as instructed by his late sibling.

Ahead of the Court hearing, Peter Ivory has been ordered by the presiding judge to account for the money concerned or potentially face a prison sentence. Mr Ivory maintains that his brother, Mick, had told him to dispose of the estate to avoid it being passed on to other family members.

Mick Ivory, a widower, died in 2018 without having left a Will. His estate consisted of the sale proceeds of his house and a valuable collection of Osmond family memorabilia. After dealing with expenses and the sale of the property, and having donated the memorabilia to a fan club, Peter Ivory travelled around the country to distribute the remaining £367,000 to homeless people and others in need.

Following his actions, Alan and John Ivory, both brothers of Peter and Mick, along with their nephew, Michael, have brought a claim against the estate. Under intestacy law, they argue that the estate should have been split equally between them all as the surviving next of kin.

Peter Ivory’s defence will rely on the legal concept of donatio mortis causa, claiming that he was given the estate as a gift by his dying brother and, therefore, there is no residual estate left to be divided among them.

The case has been adjourned to allow Peter Ivory the opportunity to account for the funds and Judge Teverson has asserted the claimants’ rights to know the details of how the estate was distributed and made clear that a failure to provide this information could result in Peter Ivory being jailed.