Disqualified from Inheriting

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    Thanks to section 47 ( 1 ) (i) of the Administration of Estates Act 1925 it has been held that a grandchild can not inherit from his/her grandparents estate if they have deceased at the hands of the grandchild’s parent. Recently a couple were murdered by their son and died intestate. The couple were survived by their son who also had a son, who claimed the estates of his grandparents.

    The son of the couple was disqualified by public policy from benefiting from his intestate
    parent’s estate, enunciated in such cases as Cleaver v Mutual Reserve Fund Life Association [1892] 1 QB 147.

    The husband had a sister who survived him and his wife had nieces and nephews, all of which, alongside the grandchild tried to claim against the estate. If it was held that the grandchild could inherit under s47(1)(i) then he would receive the whole estate on trust upon him attaining 18 years. However, if the child was unable to claim, the estate would be distributed according to the rules of intestacy to the said mentioned relatives.

    It was argued that s47(1)(i) was clear in expressing the intention of Parliament and there was no need, nor was it possible, to read into it to allow the grandchild to take. S47(1) makes clear that the estate will be held on trust for any child of the intestate, who attains the age of 18 years therefore their son qualified. The subsection went on to name other beneficiaries under the trust as all or any issue living at the death of the testate who attain the age of 18 years or marries under that age of any child of the intestate who predeceased the intestate.

    Therefore living grandchildren can only take provided that their relevant parent was dead.

    To enable the grandchild to inherit the words ‘of any child of the intestate who predeceases
    the intestate’ had to be construed as covering cases where the child was alive, but was disqualified or disclaimed his interest.

    The subsection went on to say that the grandchild should take ‘the share which the parent would have taken if living at the death of the testator’ and concluded ‘and so that no issue shall take whose parent is living at the death of the intestate and so capable of taking’.

    The son was living and the use of s47(1)(i) made it clear that the grandchild could not inherit.

    It was therefore accepted that it was not Parliaments intention for a grandchild to inherit if a surviving parent was prevented from taking by disclaimer or disqualification.

    The estate therefore passed to the remaining relatives of the couple, not to the grandchild.

    This was held to be the intention of Parliament when drafting s47(1)(i) but has this given the
    correct interpretation of any grandparents intention?

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    Matt Walkden Will Writer

    About Matt Walkden

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