Services
People
News and Events
Other
Blogs
Paul Branch
    • Paul Branch

    • Head of Property Litigation, Partner
    • View profile
 

Court of Appeal ruling supports the use of standstill agreements in inheritance claims

  • Posted

Further to my blog in March 2019, the claim in Cowan v Foreman has now been decided by the Court of Appeal so that Mrs Cowan, a widow, will be able to proceed out of time in a claim against her late husband’s estate. The original rejected claim was...

High Court rules that elder parent died first in inheritance dispute

  • Posted

In June, we highlighted the case of a contested estate arising from the tragic deaths of a couple, John and Ann Scarle , following an apparent burglary at their home. The Judge has now decided who, for legal purposes, died first. The couple each had a...

Claim for conditional gift in Will is denied by the clock and the Court

  • Posted

The terms of a Will can often be a bone of contention, particularly when unexpected circumstances intervene and where reference to long-standing legislation is needed to resolve the dispute. The recent High Court case of Naylor & Another v Barlow &...

Mystery surrounding time of death leads to inheritance claim

  • Posted

A tragic and highly unusual case, reported by the Daily Mirror on 25 June, has again highlighted the importance of having a Will. It involves the death of a couple caused by hypothermia following an apparent burglary at their home. John and Ann Scarle...

'Change of Heart' for the Petty family in dispute over rock star's estate?

  • Posted

Another day, another late famous person’s disputed Will… The singer-songwriter Tom Petty died in October 2017 moving onto ‘A Higher Place’, following an accidental overdose. A recent news story suggests all is not well in the Petty...

Standstill agreement and Letter of Wishes feature in controversial Inheritance claim decision

  • Posted

A recent decision, in Cowan v Cowan, has caused consternation in the contentious probate world. It’s common practice for parties to agree a standstill agreement whilst attempting to negotiate settlements in Inheritance Act claims rather than issuing a...

Siblings dispute Will dividend, arguing that richer brother should inherit less

  • Posted

Two sisters are disputing the division of their mother’s £1.5m estate which, according to a Will made in 2013, split the estate equally with their brother. Jennifer Penny and Catherine Kennard contend that the 2013 Will is not valid as their...

Ballerina wins estate claim after caring for grandmother

  • Posted

A Royal Academy of Dance graduate who sacrificed her ballerina career to care for her grandmother in 2008, has received £110,000 from her estate. Joan Flood, who died in 2016, had dementia and needed full-time support to remain in her own home. Lynsey...

Changing circumstances - the importance of updating your Will

  • Posted

Nothing ever stays the same. Your personal circumstances can change from year to year and, when these changes are significant – e.g. marriage, divorce, the purchase of a property – updating your details in legal records is very important. Wills...

Testamentary capacity and mental health

  • Posted

The testamentary capacity of a person at the time of making their Will is often questioned when a claim is made against its provision. The Courts will always consider each case on the specific facts involved, applying the test established by Banks v...

Knowledge and approval claim fails in contested Will case

  • Posted

In a recent High Court case, Rakesh Gupta claimed that his late mother’s Will, which favoured his younger brother, Naresh, was invalid due to lack of knowledge and approval. The Court found in favour of Naresh on the basis that, when considering the...

Proprietary estoppel - Is your word your bond?

  • Posted

The recent High Court judgement in Gee v Gee dealt with proprietary estoppel. This is a legal principle whereby a person will acquire the rights over property if they have been given assurance to this effect on which they can reasonably rely and that their...

Capacity to marry and the Court of Protection

  • Posted

A most unusual case came before the Court of Protection in July 2017, although the case has only recently become public. A wealthy, retired insurance broker in his mid-80s had cohabited with his partner, a woman in her 70s, for some 20 years or more,...

Wills and unlawful killing

  • Posted

The facts of Macmillan Cancer Support -v- Christopher Hayes and Charles Long (2017) are tragic. Peter, aged 84, was found hanging in the hallway of his home and, in the sitting room, his wife, Sheila, aged 88, was found fully clothed lying peacefully in a...

Funeral wishes and arrangements

  • Posted

Many people have a clear picture of how they want their funeral to be conducted. Technically, the executors of a Will are responsible for implementing funeral arrangements but are not obliged to follow any wishes related to this that are expressed in the...

Can the Executor of a Will be removed?

  • Posted

It is rare for Courts to remove Executors. They have been appointed by the Testator and so one usually must demonstrate that the Executor has been at fault or that there is a good reason for their removal. In the recent interesting case of Heath v...

Professional negligence in Will drafting

  • Posted

It is usually the case that solicitors only owe a duty of care to their clients. However, when it comes to Will drafting, the case of White v Jones established that a solicitor’s duty of care extends to beneficiaries. Furthermore, the law has...

Time's Up

  • Posted

With most claims, the law imposes a time limit in which they must be brought or they will be time-barred. Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 are slightly different in that the Act states that an application shall not...

Mutual Wills

  • Posted

It is possible for two people to leave Wills where, on the first death, the survivor is not free to unilaterally alter their Will and make a new one inconsistent with the mutual Will. If that person does so, their representatives would hold that estate on...

Law Commission - Wills - A Brave New World

  • Posted

Only 180 years after the Wills Act was introduced, there is a suggestion that the law around making Wills may need updating to reflect “changes in society, technology and medical understanding”. When one considers that Queen Victoria had...

Law Commission consultation on Wills reform looks to the future

  • Posted

It is estimated that approximately 40% of adults die each year without having made a Will, known as dying ‘intestate’. A consultation document published by the Law Commission earlier in July seeks to reduce these figures. It describes the...