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Deceased estates and inheritance disputes

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The case of Menzies v Marriott decided by the Supreme Court on 19 August 2009 is a good example of the motto “Get the right advice or pay the price!”

Mrs Marriott had four children.  She made a Will appointing her daughter as executor and she left her entire estate to the daughter.  One of her sons, who was an undischarged bankrupt, sought and was given leave to make a claim against the estate out of time.

Generally an order for provision would not be made from an estate if it would not in fact benefit the son, but only his creditors.  However, the son did a deal with his bankruptcy trustee.

The lesson from this case is that the claim could easily have been avoided.  An extension of time to bring the claim could not have been granted by the Court if the estate had been finally distributed.  The problem was that even though it was nearly 2½ years since Probate was granted, the estate assets were still sitting in the name of the estate and had not been transferred into the name of the daughter.  This simple action would have prevented any claim.

MST’s Private Client Services team is holding a Wills and Estates Seminar on Tuesday 13 October 2009 at 5:45pm.  To learn more about executor’s duties and inheritance disputes, register to reserve your place.

Author:  Paul Watkins