Case 1 – The Grandfather Clock
In a rather nasty probate dispute, brother and sister who had not met for many years had their own reasons for hating the other. Eventually, an item was discovered which one side was desperate to own, and which the other had no affection for – the grandfather clock!
The other differences then melted away, and agreement was soon reached.
Case 2 – Four Wives, Plus A Few In Between
The claimant was the second wife of the deceased. He had married four wives altogether, but it had taken 22 years for the financial agreement to be reached with the claimant; it seems that the couple enjoyed negotiating.
Each spouse had taken out substantial values from their property dealing partnership, and the second wife had given a charge to the deceased on her mansion, for the excess value she had taken out. The settlement and the subsequent wills were very tax efficient. Then on his deathbed the deceased executed a codicil excusing the second wife from the charge. This was not only out of character, with doubts about his testamentary capacity, but it also spoiled the tax planning. Both sides agreed not to face the risk and huge expense of a trial, agreeing instead to cancellation of the codicil for a reduced payment.