How do you dispute a will based on undue influence?
We were instructed by Mr S following the break-up of his relationship with his long term partner, Ms L. They were both in new relationships by the time we were instructed, but Ms L continued to live in the property that they had jointly lived in and purchased in joint names together.
Ms L, who now lived in the property with her new partner, disputed that Mr S owned a 50% share in the property because it was Ms L alone who had provided the deposit. Mr S alleged that his share in the property was 50% and that he was entitled to have the property sold so that he could receive his 50% share in the sale proceeds. Ms L disagreed so we eventually issued proceedings for a declaration that Mr S owned 50% of the property and that the property should be sold so that he could receive his share.
We relied on a number of factors, including that Mr S had been paying the mortgage (which was in their joint names) and he had spent significant time and money on refurbishing the property. Importantly, Mr S was able to rely on the fact that there was no evidence of an agreement between him and Ms L to the effect that they owed anything other than an equal share in the property.
Shortly before the final hearing Ms L accepted that Mr S was entitled to a 50% share but requested that he wait 12 months to be paid to enable her to raise funds to buy him out rather than there be a forced sale, which our client agreed to.
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