HC Deb 14 January 1964 vol 687 cc22-3
35. Mr. J. Howard

asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he will now recognise the claim of Mrs. Schofield against the estate of her late mother, Mrs. A. B. Wood, for remuneration as her mother's housekeeper, notwithstanding the absence of written evidence of a contractual claim.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Maurice Macmillan)

No, Sir.

Mr. Howard

Does not my hon. Friend agree that the circumstances in which the late Mrs. Wood made the extraordinary decision to leave the whole of her £20,000 estate to the Treasury warrant some sympathetic consideration for her daughter who devoted 12 years of her life to acting as unpaid housekeeper to her mother, enabling her mother to carry on her occupation as a teacher and thus amass the money from which the Treasury has benefited? Will he look at this matter again?

Mr. Macmillan

The difficulty is that the fact that Mrs. Wood left all her estate to the Treasury is not in itself evidence that she was not in a fit and proper state to make a will. Undoubtedly, one must have great sympathy for her daughter, but the difficulty is that the will is a valid will carrying out the testator's obvious intention, and Mrs. Schofield really has no ground in law for contesting it.

Mr. Howard

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the Answer, I beg to give notice that I shall seek an early opportunity to raise the matter on the Adjournment.