Interpretation of ‘issue’ in wills

The bailiff (sitting alone) was recently asked to consider an application from Mrs Le Cras for a ruling from the court as to the interpretation of her late father’s two wills.

The testator (Arnold Resch) died on 20 February 1942 having made two wills (one dealing with his personal estate and the other his real estate outside Jersey). The residuary provisions were more or less identical but required a ruling from the court as to the definition of issue and in particular who would inherit following the death of Mrs Le Cras.

The wills had followed the Jersey légitime principles by providing outright gifts of one third of the estate to the testator’s widow and one third to his child or children. The final third was placed in trust, the income of which was split, half being paid to his widow and half to his child or children. From the death of the widow, the income would be paid to such children of the testator as were living, in equal shares, and on their deaths the residuary estate was to be held ‘in trust for the issue of such deceased child of mine’. There were also longstop provisions in favour of more remote family members…

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