Wills, trusts and inheritance disputes

2 April 2013

Invalid Wills – the challenge of proving lack of ‘testamentary capacity’

In 2013, the courts have held in two different cases (both involving warring siblings contesting a deceased parent’s estate where one sibling had been cut out of the deceased parent’s last will) that there was insufficient evidence to declare a Will invalid on the ground that the testator lacked ‘testamentary capacity’. However, in both cases, the disputed Wills were declared invalid on the ground of ‘want of knowledge and approval’

Ryan Mowat

24 January 2013

Inheritance claims by children - on the rise?

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the Act”) provides that adult children are entitled to apply for reasonable provision from the estate of a deceased parent.  We have observed a steady increase in claims from children, often in strained family situations involving step- parents.

Katherine Pymont

10 October 2012

Bernard Matthews’ Will - French law has the final say

The three adopted children of millionaire turkey farmer, Bernard Matthews, commenced proceedings in England for their share in their father’s £12 million French villa near St Tropez to be recognised under French law, despite their father’s three wills in favour of his secret French mistress for 23 years.

20 July 2012

Suspicious Wills: the rise of ‘want of knowledge and approval’ claims?

A high profile case was heard at the High Court in London recently, in which two Wills prepared by an individual on behalf of his sisters were set aside on the grounds of want of knowledge and approval. We have also just settled a probate dispute where a Will was challenged on this basis. These claims arise when the circumstances surrounding the making of a Will appear to be suspicious. A testator must have knowledge and approval of the contents of a Will in order for it to be valid. 

Ryan Mowat

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