The Court of Appeal decision in Cathal Anthony Lyons v Fox Williams LLP  EWCA Civ 2347 has provided welcome guidance on a solicitor’s duty to advise their clients on potential risks and confirms that no such duty exists in respect of matters falling outside a solicitor’s retainer.
2018 has seen many interesting decisions in the field of contentious trust and probate litigation. I summarise what I see as some of the key cases below (in order of the judgment date), which have covered topics varying from will validity challenges to construction of trust documents and much more in between.
Banksy's newly-titled "Love is in the Bin" was unveiled on 12 October 2018 at Sotheby's in London. Originally titled "Girl with Balloon," the canvas passed through a hidden shredder seconds after the hammer fell on 5 October 2018 at Sotheby's London Contemporary Art Evening Sale, making it the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction.
Last month it was reported by the BBC that a consultant psychiatrist, Zholia Alemi, had been found guilty of four fraud and theft charges (and subsequently jailed for five years) having “redrafted [an elderly patient’s] will and fraudulently applied for power of attorney” in an effort to benefit from her estate. Alemi is said to have met the patient at a dementia clinic.
A survey from Will Aid shows that more than half of parents in the UK do not have a will. Even when wills are made they are sometimes subject to challenge where children do not believe the terms of the will reflect their parents’ true intentions or do not record promises made. If you have been promised part of an estate, a specific property or otherwise, it is wise to have such a promise evidenced in writing and/or witnessed by an independent third party. Reliance on a promise without such evidence may leave you with less than you had anticipated and lead to an unpleasant inheritance dispute.