Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Disclaimer Halts Mansion and Acreage Inheritance For Over 40 Years

WillAfter an 80 year legal battle, the Hoblyn estate in Cornwall can be distributed among relatives. The estate included a mansion and 3,000 acres of land. The two sisters residing in California have inherited the estate originally worth $7.5 million dollars. The next male heir has been left with a decreased inheritance due to changes in the will.

In 1856 estate owner, Figg-Hoblyn, first moved to the property. The trouble did not start until decades later when the property went unclaimed for 40 years. Heir John Paget Figg-Hoblyn refused to sign the deed. It is suspected he refused to sign the deed because he wanted to avoid paying taxes. Because Paget did not notify the British High Court, the next heir John Westropp Figg- Hoblyn was unable to inherit the mansion and acreage. The will indicated the estate must pass to a male. Finally, the court recognized Mr. Westropp as the rightful heir. However, Paget declined to make a decision leaving the mansion in estate limbo. During the dispute, the mansion and acreage fell into disrepair. Additionally, pieces of the estate had to be sold to pay off taxes and other costs. The acreage is still worth over 5 million, but is only one-third of its original size. Paget died on June 12, 2011 at the age of 85. Shortly after his death, the Court of Protection in London took out the original clause from the will, which stated the estate would have to pass to a male heir. The estate is now split with Westropp's sisters in California.

See Mark Duell and Louise Boyle, How a 5 Million, 3,000-Acre Estate Fell Into Ruin After American Heir Refused To Inherit Property For 40 Years Because He Didn't Want to Pay Death Tax, DailyMail.co.uk.com, Mar. 14, 2013.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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