Not Registered to Vote Means Bequest Invalid

When a Spanish resident made his will, having arranged his affairs so as to avoid the compulsory inheritance laws that apply in Spain, he intended that his estate – worth nearly £400,000 – should go to the British National Party (BNP).

However, he had not taken account of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, which prohibits political parties from accepting donations from persons resident abroad who are not registered voters in the UK. The donor's two sons sought to have the bequest to the BNP declared invalid because he was not registered to vote in the UK.

The BNP had anticipated the issue arising and created a deed of variation to his will. This changed the bequest in order to benefit a trust, the trustees of which were linked to the BNP.

The man's sons claimed that the deed of variation could not legitimise an invalid gift and the court agreed with that view. The BNP had already received the money and had then entered into the deed of variation to make the gift lawful.

The court ordered that the money be repaid to the man's estate and the estate distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules.

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