Sammut & Ors v. Manzi & Ors, Court of Appeal - Privy Council, December 04, 2008, [2008] UKPC 58

Resolution Date:December 04, 2008
Issuing Organization:Privy Council
Actores:Sammut & Ors v. Manzi & Ors
 
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[2008] UKPC 58

Sammut & Ors v. Manzi & Ors (The Bahamas) [2008] UKPC 58 (04 December 2008)

Privy Council Appeal No 21 of 2007

(1) Jean Claude Sammut

(2) Winston Sammut

(3) Pamela Gleeson

(4) Arlette Waitzer Appellants

v.

(1) Vincent Manzi Jr.

(2) Gregory Cotiss

as trustees of the Estate of Raymond Adams

(3) Robert Adams

(4) Ruby Adams Respondents

FROM

THE COURT OF APPEAL OF

THE BAHAMAS

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JUDGMENT OF THE LORDS OF THE JUDICIAL

COMMITTEE OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL

Delivered the 4th December 2008

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Present at the hearing:-

Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers

Lord Hope of Craighead

Lord Rodger of Earlsferry

Baroness Hale of Richmond

Lord Carswell

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[Delivered by Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers]

Introduction

On 29 February 2004 Raymond Adams (``the testator'') died in the Bahamas, aged 73. He died a very wealthy man; his executors estimated the value of his estate at US $30 million. This appeal raises an issue as to the construction of the will that he made, less than a year before his death, on 18 June 2003. The will was admitted to probate in the Bahamas Probate Registry on 27 July 2004. The dispute relates to Clause 6(ii) of the will, but it is helpful to set out Clauses 6 and 7 in their entirety, so that the provisions in issue can be considered in their context:

6. I HEREBY GIVE DEVISE AND BEQUEATH all of my real and personal property whatsoever and wheresoever situate (hereinafter referred to as ``my Estate'') to the following persons in the following shares:

(i) The first share representing Fifty percent (50%) of my Estate to my son, Robert Adams (hereinafter called ``Robert''), of the Town of Vaughan in the Province of Ontario in Canada, as to the realty in fee simple and as to the personalty absolutely. If Robert shall predecease me or fail to survive me for a period of Fourteen (14) days, the share to which he is entitled shall be paid to his issue (which, as at the date of this my Last Will and Testament, consists solely of my granddaughter, Michelle Adams) and, if there shall be more than one of such issue, then among all of such issue in equal shares per stirpes.

(ii) The second share representing Twenty-Five percent (25%) of my Estate to:

a. my cousins Arlette Weitzer (hereinafter called ``Arlette'') of the State of Victoria in Australia, Pamela Gleeson (hereinafter called ``Pamela'') also of the said State of Victoria, Winston Sammut (hereinafter called ``Winston'') of the State of New South Wales also in Australia and Jean Claude Sammut (hereinafter called ``Jean Claude'') also of the said State of New South Wales; and

b. my ex-spouse Ruby Adams (hereinafter called ``Ruby'') now of Woodbridge in the Province of Ontario in Canada,

in equal shares as to the realty in fee simple and as to the personalty absolutely. If any of Arlette, Pamela, Winston, Jean Claude and/or Ruby shall predecease me or shall fail to survive me for a period of Fourteen (14) days, the share to which that individual is entitled shall be paid, transferred or applied to the living heirs of the deceased individual (and, if there shall be more than one such living heir, then among all of such living heirs in equal shares, per stirpes). If the deceased individual shall leave no issue surviving him or her, the share of that deceased individual shall be paid, transferred or applied to the surviving beneficiaries named in this sub-clause 6(ii) in equal shares and, if there shall be more than one such surviving beneficiary, then among all such surviving beneficiaries in equal shares per stirpes;

(iii) The third share representing Five percent (5%) of my Estate to my friend, Dr Bert Manning (hereinafter called ``Dr. Manning''), of the Town of Brampton in the Province of Ontario in Canada, as to the realty in fee simple and as to the personalty absolutely. If Dr. Manning shall predecease me or fail to survive me for Fourteen (14) days, the share to which he is entitled shall be paid to his living heirs (and, if there shall be more than one such living heir, then among all of such living heirs in equal shares, per stirpes);

(iv) The fourth share representing Five percent (5%) of my Estate to my friend and Co-Executor Vincent C. Manzi, Jr (hereinafter called ``Vincent''), of the Town of West Newbury in the State of Massachusetts, as to the realty in fee simple and as to the personalty absolutely. If Vincent shall predecease me or fail to survive me for Fourteen (14) days, the share to which he is entitled shall be paid to his living heirs (and, if there shall be more than one such living heir, then among all of such living heirs in equal shares, per stirpes); and

(v) The fifth and final share representing Fifteen percent (15%) of my Estate to my friend, Dr Tyrone David (hereinafter called ``Dr. David''), of the City of Toronto in the Province of Ontario in Cananda, as to the realty in fee simple and as to the personalty absolutely. If Dr. David shall predecease me or fail to survive me for Fourteen (14) days, the share to which he is entitled shall be paid to his living heirs (and, if there shall be more than one such living heir, then among all of such living heirs in equal shares, per stirpes).

7. I HEREBY DIRECT that if any beneficiary named under the provisions of Clause 6 of this my Last Will and Testament shall challenge the same or any of the gifts made hereunder, the gift to that individual shall lapse and shall be paid, transferred or applied to the person or persons entitled in default of the individual challenging this my Last Will and Testament and if there shall be no such person entitled in default, then to the remaining beneficiaries (and, if there shall be more than one such remaining beneficiary, then among all of such remaining beneficiaries in equal shares per stirpes).

The appellants are the four beneficiaries named in clause 6(ii)(a) (``the cousins'') . They are the...

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