Man To Get Aunt’s Property Following High Court Ruling

Estate Dispute With Charities Regarding Deathbed Gift Comes To An End

09.07.2014

The High Court has ruled that a man should be entitled to receive the house owned by his deceased aunt, following his claim that she handed him the deeds just months prior to her death and wanted him to own it on her death.

Kenneth King, 58, who looked after June Fairbrother in her final years, said he had been told that he would receive her £350,000 home in Hertfordshire when she passed away. However, seven charities argued that a will written in 1998 stated that the property would be left to them.

In a ruling at the High Court, Deputy Judge Charles Hollander stated that signed documents from 2010 which were not technical valid wills suggested Mrs Fairbrother wanted to leave the house to Mr King with the intention that he would care for her pets. Mrs Fairbrother also spoke to Mr King about making sure he got the house “when I go”.

Deputy Judge Hollander also rejected the charities arguments that Mrs Fairbrother was lacking capacity when she handed the deeds to Mr King.

Deputy Judge Hollander said, "In my judgement, the words used, in context, were indeed suggestive of a gift conditional on death and not consistent with any other interpretation,” he added.