High Court passes judgement in stepsisters’ inheritance dispute
Further to our blog last month about an ongoing inheritance dispute, judgement has now been handed down in the case of John and Ann Scarle. Judge Philip Kramer QC ruled that the inheritance should pass to Mrs Scarle’s children. The evidence provided by Mr Scarle’s daughter was insufficient to prove that Mrs Scarle died first and therefore the commorientes rule was upheld and, as Mr Scarle was older, he was deemed to have died first; leaving his estate to his wife who then in turn passed it under the terms of her Will.
James Weale, the barrister acting for Deborah Cutler (Mrs Scarle’s daughter) said that it has been “an all-or-nothing case for the parties who stood to inherit from their parents”. Mrs Cutler said that she had made several attempts to settle the matter out of court “including an offer… that the parties split the assets… 50/50”.
Rebecca Dixon is a solicitor in the private client department at Barker Gotelee, Ipswich solicitors.