Monday, 28 May 2012

The Estate of Thomas Ivall (1781-1835)

Thomas Ivall (1781-1835) was my great, great, great grandfather. The distribution of the residue of his estate after the death of his wife in 1866 seems to have resulted in some friction within the family !

Thomas’s will (dated 5 May 1835, he died on 6 June 1835) left £50 immediately after his death to his wife Jane and each of his three surviving children. His children were also left £500 each when they reached 21, with the residue to be invested to provide an income for his wife until her death or remarriage when the remaining funds were to be divided between Thomas‘s children. If any of his children were dead at this time then their share would go to their children. The executors of the will were Jane Ivall and her eldest son Robert Thomas Ivall. The estate duty record of the will values his estate “at less than £4,000”.

The website can be used to get an idea of the relative worth of the sums above in current terms.  The website calculates an answer in five different ways, resulting in widely different results. However, probably the most valid calculation is by comparison with an index of average earnings. This says that £500 in 1835 was equivalent to £366,000 in 2010 (the latest date for which data are available on the website). It can be seen therefore that Thomas was a wealthy man and that his children were comfortably off when they reached the age of 21 (and received their £500 inheritance).

Thomas’s children at the time of his death were Robert Thomas, Louisa and David. All reached the age of 21 so would have each received £500. Louisa died in 1847 (aged 33) and Robert Thomas in 1865 (aged 52). When Thomas’s wife Jane died in Q1 1866, only David (my ancestor) was still alive. The probate records show that letters of administration for Thomas Ivall’s estate were issued to David in 1866. The size of the estate is stated “as less than £1,000”.

A letter dated 12th April 1866 was sent to Thomas Ivall (1837-1908), the eldest son of Robert Thomas Ivall by Robert A Ward (a solicitor). It says
“Your grandfather left by will a residue of £1800 upon trust to pay his widow the income during her life and at her death to divide it into thirds: one to each of his children and provided that if either of his children should die in the lifetime of the mother, the share of the child so dying should be payable among his children. Your father died before your grandmother and in my opinion you are entitled to a share, notwithstanding that your father received and spent his share in his life time. I am told you are ready to give up your share in favour of your uncle (presumably David Ivall) and cousin Miss Luker (Emily Louisa Luker, the only daughter of Louisa Ivall). But I must have a letter from you to that effect before I can act upon it. Your share will be about £60. Let me hear what your wishes are.”

It seems that Thomas was not happy with the way that David was administering his grandfather’s estate. Thomas and his brother Robert Ivall (1840-97) filed a case against David Ivall at the Court of Chancery. The records are held at the National Archives at Kew. The first hearing was on 9th May 1866 before Mr Disraeli, who ordered that the case be adjourned whilst enquiries were made regarding Thomas Ivall’s estate, debts, creditors, funeral expenses and any legacies already given. As a result, an item appeared in the London Gazette of June 5, 1866 asking anyone with claims against the estate of Thomas Ivall to send their names to Robert Ward of Maidenhead, Berks, solicitor to the defendant (ie David Ivall) before 2nd July 1866.

A further hearing was held on 23 July 1866 before Mr Colville. He ordered David Ivall to transfer the £1125 in 3% annuities remaining from Thomas Ivall’s estate to an account managed by the Accountant General. Any interest was to be used to purchase more annuities.

A hearing on 13 February 1867 before Mr King ordered £1,125 plus £50 already paid to David Ivall minus legal costs and death duty to be divided into three equal parts. One part was to be paid to David Ivall, one part to Emily Louisa Luker (then aged 19) and the third part to be divided between the 7 surviving children of Robert Thomas Ivall. These were Thomas (aged 29 in February 1867), Robert (26), Jane (25, wife of John Bampton), Marion (22), Owen (20), Louisa (18) and Harriett (16). This outcome doesn’t seem very fair to me, as Robert Thomas Ivall had received his share of the residue when he was alive !

There was another hearing on 5th July 1867 before Mr King. He authorized the payment of £44 1s 7d (£40 10s 8d after solicitors costs were paid) each to John Bampton on behalf of Jane his wife, Marion and Owen Ivall (who was 21 by then).

Further hearings on 10 March 1869 and 9 November 1871 instructed that £40 11s 8d be paid to Louisa and Harriett Ivall as they reached the age of 21. Their solicitor Charles Edward Abbott was paid £6 each time.

The fact that Thomas and Robert Ivall asked for the Court of Chancery to administer the estate of their grandfather Thomas Ivall might indicate that they did not trust their uncle David Ivall to do it properly. Dennis Ivall recorded a family story that David was a heavy drinker – if true, this may be the reason. It seems to have been relatively common for the Court of Chancery to administer wills, the disadvantage being that legal costs consumed a significant percentage of the estate.

The main beneficiaries of the will died shortly after they received their allocation. David Ivall died on 30 September 1867 aged 51 and Emily Louisa Luker in 1870 aged 23.

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