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Legg v Burton [2017] EWHC 2088 (Ch)

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Our Head of Wills and Probate, Mr Stephen Rhodes, acted for the claimant.

The Claimants had been promised that they would inherit their parents’ estate because their parents had made a binding oral agreement to achieve this - but towards the end of her life, their mother made frequent and inexplicable changes to her will that favoured her grandchildren instead.

We were able to use the equitable doctrine of mutual wills to establish a constructive trust that provided the mother’s estate to the Claimants and prevented the grandchildren from receiving anything.

The case broke new ground because the trial judge asserted that a proprietary estoppel could be used strengthen the agreement made between the will-makers (that their wills should not change), and to overcome any obstacle posed by section 2 of the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989 (which otherwise provides that any terms in an agreement to dispose of property that are not reduced into writing are not binding).

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