Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Key factors courts consider before making a Crisp(s)** order

As set out in the post last week, a Crisp order can be made by courts to vary a life interest or right of occupancy in certain circumstances.

Generally, courts are reluctant to grant a Crisp order as they do not bring complete and immediate closure to a deceased estate.

This said, particularly where the house represents a significant proportion of the overall value of the estate, courts will at least consider a Crisp order.

The key issues that the courts normally take into account in this regard include:
  1. The duration or length of the marriage. Generally Crisp orders are most relevant where the deceased spouse is in a second or subsequent life relationship;
  2. The contribution by the current spouse to the deceased’s welfare;
  3. The overall size of the estate;
  4. The financial stability of the spouse, respecting the spouse’s need for security and independence for the balance of their life; and
  5. The financial status and health of the beneficiaries nominated under the will to receive the capital value of the house on the ending of the (initially designed) right to occupy or life interest.
Clearly, each of these factors are subjective and therefore any litigation where a Crisp order is sought will largely turn on the court’s interpretation of each competing interest.

** for the trainspotters, the title today is riffed from the Radiohead song ‘True love waits’.

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