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25 July 2016 0 Comments
Posted in Opinion

Family secure approval to change inheritance rules in landmark case

Author headshot image Posted by , Partner

A long-established family have decided to rewrite the inheritance rules of their trust to allow for the fact that one of their descendants may have a same-sex relationship.

The Pembertons, who live at Trumpington Hall, in Cambridgeshire, said this month that they felt they had “a moral obligation” to change the arrangements in place.

Richard Pemberton had gone to the High Court to alter the rules in what is believed to be the first case of a landed family rewriting their family trusts to make provision for those in a civil partnership or same-sex marriage.

Judge Hodge, who was asked to consider the case, agreed that the changes were in the interests of both the immediate and wider family. He added that the alterations had not been pursued out of fear that any living heirs could be excluded.

The Judge said that the current rules of the trust had been drawn up “very much in the style” of a 19th century family settlement.

“The trust is in need of a much needed overhaul,” he said. “The proposed variation will be for the benefit of the family as a whole and therefore of benefit to each individual member.”

The Pembertons have lived on their estate for more than 300 years –  Sir Francis Pemberton, a former Chief Justice, had bought the stately home in 1675.

The lifespan of the trust has now been extended for another 125 years (running until 2141).

For legal advice on trusts and rules of inheritance contact Tony Millson and Deanna Hurst in Royds’ Private Client team.

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