Commorientes rule invoked as evidence fails to prove order of English couple’s deaths

The judge in the Scarle estate dispute, in which an elderly married couple were found dead in their Essex home, has ruled that there is not enough medical evidence to determine who died first (Estate of James Scarle v Estate of Marjorie Scarle, 2019 EWHC 2224 Ch).

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This case shows the need to properly plan one’s assets by having a Private Foundation or Trust in place in order to avoid any disputes with beneficiaries in the future. The planning should include guidance on how to distribute assets when two founders or settlors die at the same time.  This scenario is often ignored when preparing an estate plan. For information on Liberian Foundations please contact Anthony Perea or Elizabeth Goralski at: