Win For Kirsty Cadogan As Brother Ordered To Pay £1.7m
A woman has secured £1.7m for her late mother’s estate to be paid by her brother after a ‘rare’ and complex executor dispute was refused permission to appeal by the Court of Appeal.
The decision is a huge success for leading national law firm Irwin Mitchell’s Will, Trust and Estate Disputes team and their client Kirsty Cadogan, who has been fighting for justice since 2011.
The issue was between the claimant Kirsty and the defendant, her brother, Kevin Cadogan. Both were executors of their mother’s £4.9m estate and both issued claims against one another to account on a footing of ‘wilful default.’
A June 2019 High Court judgment found in favour of Irwin Mitchell’s client. While Kevin Cadogan appealed the decision, the Court of Appeal has rejected any further appeal. A three-day hearing has now also concluded where the accounts were taken for the executors’ time in charge of their mother’s estate – and the defendant was ordered to pay back £1.7m to the estate as well as legal costs.
Expert will dispute lawyers at Irwin Mitchell say the decision marks the end of a nine-year dispute which could have been avoided had a professional personal representative been appointed.
Expert Opinion“It’s a relief to our client that the Court of Appeal has rejected any further appeal of the case, having been through enough emotional turmoil over the last nine years.
“Veronica Cadogan had a complex and high-value estate, which unfortunately means that even with the best of intentions mistakes can be made if the personal representative is inexperienced, or even wilfully negligent as was the case here.
“The case is a cautionary tale for those writing a will – sometimes it’s definitely worth considering whether a professional executor or trustee is a better appointment if there are difficult aspects of the estate, such as overseas business interests or multiple properties.
“My client can finally begin to move on now that this unhappy period of her life has reached a conclusion, and the court order from 2019 can now be followed.” Richard Smaller - Associate Solicitor
Veronica Cadogan died in September 2011 and two of her five children, Kirsty and Kevin Cadogan, became administrators of her estate. Her will said the estate, involving 14 UK and international properties thought to be worth around £2.4m, should be shared amongst her five children equally.
Kirsty Cadogan instructed specialist will, trust and estate dispute lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to handle her case as she first brought a claim in court against her brother and administrator Kevin in 2016 (after trying for many years beforehand) for an account of his dealings with the estate on the footing of wilful default.
She stated that the family business which was being run by Kevin had used five of the estate properties without paying occupation rent or accounting for the profits that he made, as well as having failed to account for rental monies from other properties. Ms Cadogan also sought to appoint a professional administrator in their place.
The court therefore needed to decide whether the personal representatives of this estate should be ordered to account ’in common form’ – that they only need to pay back any money they kept for themselves less any expenditure occurred – or if they should account on a footing of wilful default, meaning they should pay back the money the estate should have received had they been acting like a reasonable personal representative.
Mr Cadogan must now pay the estate £1.7m.