Executor Ordered to Pay Costs for Failed Appeal

January 24, 2018 4:34 pm

The Court of Appeal Upheld a decision allowing an unmarried partner to buy the home he had shared with the deceased for 19 years – the Executor who had brought the appeal was ordered to pay costs

In 2016 an Executor was ordered to pay costs for two failed appeals against her mother’s former partner.

Thomas Warner and Audrey Blackwell had lived as husband and wife in Mrs Blackwell’s house, for 19 years until her death in May 2014.  Mr Warner, was older than Mrs Blackwell and significantly better off and had not expected to receive anything under her Will although he had made provision for her in his own Will as he anticipated pre-deceasing her.

On Mrs Blackwell’s death in 2014, there was no provision for Mr Warner in her will , who by then was in his eighties and very frail and wanted to remain in his home of 19 years.  He made a successful claim for ‘reasonable financial provision’ under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 – this gave him the right to buy the home he had lived in with Mrs Blackwell, from the estate at full value.  The decision was appealed twice by Mrs Blackwell’s daughter, Mrs Lewis, who was her sole executrix and heir, on the basis that Mr Warner was not in need of financial provision, being able to afford alternative accommodation.

The Court of Appeal dismissed Mrs Lewis’s appeal, confirming that Mrs Blackwell’s Will did not make reasonable financial provision for Mr Warner’s maintenance. Taking into consideration various factors including his age, frailty, the length of time he had resided at this house and the assistance he received from neighbours, the judge concluded that Mr Warner needed that maintenance to continue and should remain in the house. The executor, Mrs Lewis, was ordered to pay Mr Warner’s costs.