Animal charities win legacy case in Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal has overturned a High Court judgment that a man could inherit a £350,000 home even though it was left to seven animal charities in the owner's will.

The High Court had found in favour of Kenneth King, who claimed he was given the house as a death-bed gift by his aunt, June Fairbrother, in April 2011. This meant that the charities named in the will would receive nothing.

After an appeal by two of the charities – Redwings and the Chilterns Dog Rescue Society – the Court of Appeal said enabling Fairbrother's will to be overturned would have bypassed all the safeguards in the Wills Act and the Law of Property Act.

A spokeswoman for Redwings said that providing the home sold for the £350,000 at which it had been valued, £19,000 would be awarded to Fairbrother's friends and family, £75,000 would go to King and the remaining £256,000 would be divided equally among the seven charities, giving them about £37,000 each, before costs.

She said the horse charity had appealed on principle: "It's never been about the money. It was such an important point of law that we just could not leave it."

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