The recent judgment in the case of Habberfield v Habberfield  EWHC 317 Ch is another of a growing number of judgments in which the claimant (and disappointed beneficiary) has pursued a claim on the grounds of proprietary estoppel.
Homemade wills are, generally, easier to challenge. There are a number of things which a court will be looking for when it considers whether a testator was capable of making a will. Firstly, the person must have the requisite mental capacity to make a will. They must also know and approve the contents of that will.
The recently retired Senior Judge of the Court of Protection, Judge Denzil Lush, caused a stir on the Today Programme last week by criticising the lack of safeguards in powers of attorney and saying that he would not sign one himself. Judge Lush also contrasted this with the appointment of a professional deputyship as a “safer” alternative.
In recent years we have noticed an increase in claims being brought which challenge the validity of a will. The reasons for this increase have been previously commented on by many, but the general feeling is that an increasing elderly population, an increase in the diagnosis of medical conditions such as dementia, and even perhaps a growing sense of entitlement by hopeful beneficiaries are all contributing factors.