Charities fight and win another legal battle

Two charities have won a Court of Appeal case against a man who had cared for his elderly aunt in her final years.

The charities were named as beneficiaries in the deceased’s will, but the man in question had argued in the high court that she had verbally given her property to him before she died.

The nephew used a little known legal doctrine of “gifts made in contemplation of death” to say that she gifted the property to him. This meant that the charities would receive nothing from her estate, as her only asset was the property.

The court of appeal looked at the circumstances: The aunt was a retired police officer, she had adequate time and the capacity to change her will, as she did not expect to die soon. To make the gift effective she could and should have changed her Will.

This is another tough decision – no doubt the nephew feels hard done by, and the charities which appealed the case will have spent much of what they gained on legal fees.