Stepdaughters pitted against each other in inheritance dispute after couple found dead at home

Posted on Monday July 8, 2019

Residential Property

The stepdaughters of a couple who were found dead at their home are embroiled in a legal dispute over who is entitled to the £280,000 property.

The dispute between Anna Winter and Deborah Cutler has arisen because it is not known whether John Scarle or his wife Ann died first.

If Mr Scarle is found to have died first his estate would have passed to Mrs Scarle and therefore, her daughter, Deborah Cutler would inherit the home.

However, if Mrs Scarle is found to have died first her estate would have passed to Mr Scarle and therefore his daughter, Anna Winter, would inherit the home.

The legal presumption under the Law of Property Act 1925 is that the older person, Mr Scarle, would have died first unless it can be proven beyond reasonable doubt that Mrs Scarle predeceased her husband.

It is thought that this is the first time since the 1950s that such a dispute has arisen in the UK, having been common during the Second World War, when entire families were killed at the same time during the Blitz.

A decision in the case is expected later in the year.

Link: Stepdaughters of elderly couple found dead at home ask judge to rule who died first to decide who gets to inherit £280K house