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Crooke v De Vandes (1805) 11 Ves 330

Joint Tenants – Severance - Survivorship

Facts

The testator of a will wished to dispose of his property between a number of beneficiaries.  Whilst giving several properties to his daughter and to his son, he also intended for a sum of £8,000 to be given to his two grand-children.  It was provided that if one of the grandchildren was dead, then the surviving grand-child was to receive the sum of the residue.

Issues

Whether or not there could be a joint tenancy of a legacy.  Whether or not the grand-sons held the co-ownership of the fund of £8,000 as tenants in common or as joint-tenants and so with that whether they had the right to survivorship as joint tenants.

Held

The grand-sons were held to be joint tenants.  Where the testator had agreed to grant the residue of his estate to his grand-sons he meant it to be in the form of a joint tenancy and this was indicated by the fact that it was provided for in the will that if one of the grand-sons died and had no heir before the legacy matured, the other grand-son was to inherit the legacy.  A simple bequest or legacy of personal property from A to B and without more was to be regarded as a joint-tenancy.  Just because the interest in the legacy was to be divided equally between the grand-children did not mean that they were to be regarded as tenants in common.  There had been no severance of the joint tenancy, and so the property was to be divided amongst the grand-sons and children of the testator as set out in the will instead of being equally divided amongst the parties as would have been the case had they been tenants in common.


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