Lonsdale v Teasdale & ors [2021] WTLR 1309

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Winter 2021 #185

The claimant was the daughter of the deceased. The deceased had made a will dated 15 September 2017 of which the residuary beneficiary was D1, a friend of the deceased. A letter of intent stated that the claimant was not to benefit. The claimant, relying on medical evidence which included a poor score in a cognitive impairment screening test and a letter from the deceased’s GP opining that the deceased had likely suffered from dementia for a number of years before executing the 2017 will, challenged the 2017 will on the basis of a lack of testamentary capacity due to memory issues, and D...

Hughes v Pritchard & ors [2021] WTLR 893

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Autumn 2021 #184

The deceased (E) died in March 2017 aged 84. The deceased’s last will was executed in July 2016 with the assistance of solicitors and after a capacity assessment was obtained from his GP. At the time of making his will, the deceased was suffering from moderately severe dementia and was grieving from the death of his eldest son (S) who had taken his own life in September 2015. The will changed the provisions of an earlier will in favour of the claimant (C), also a son of E, inter alia, leaving 58 acres of farmland to C.

The defendants were the sister, widow and eldest son ...

Testamentary capacity: When capacity fluctuates

Joseph de Lacey and Rowan Cope update practitioners on the High Court’s current approach to interpreting testamentary capacity It is striking that what appeared to be settled conclusions by respected professionals made contemporaneously with the execution of the disputed will… could be partially displaced by a misunderstanding as to the scale of the difference between …
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Re Clitheroe [2021] WTLR 449

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2021 #183

The claimant (C) and the defendant (D) were the surviving children of the deceased. Her other child, E, had died of cancer without children. Although the deceased had been close to D and D’s daughter, this changed after a disagreement between D and the deceased about E’s medication, when the deceased threatened that she would not forgive or speak to D again. The Deputy Master found that D was not responsible for the estrangement and that the deceased had irrationally maintained that it was D who cut her out rather than the other way around. E’s death had a profound effe...

Testamentary capacity: Goodfellow for our times

Lucinda Brown and Judith Swinhoe-Standen consider delusions and testamentary capacity following Clitheroe v Bond Given the varying circumstances of testators, there is unsurprisingly a considerable grey area in defining what kinds of beliefs are delusional for the purposes of testamentary capacity. The judgment of Clitheroe v Bond, handed down on 4 May 2021, was eagerly …
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Coles v Reynolds & anr WTLR(w) 2021-02

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Re Boyes [2020] WTLR 793

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Autumn 2020 #180

The testator (T) died in 2010 aged 86 with an estate of £391,573. The claimant (C) was the elderly sister of T’s late wife and sought to propound his last will dated November 2009, which left the estate as to two thirds to her and one third to the first defendant (D1), T’s daughter, who was also executor along with the second defendant. The third and fourth defendants (D3, D4), T’s two sons, challenged the validity of the 2009 will on grounds of lack of testamentary capacity and/or fraudulent calumny allegedly perpetrated by D1 (who was the beneficiary under C’s will). D3 and D4 therefor...

Wills: Prevention rather than cure

Duncan Bailey and Imogen Trafford discuss best practice to guard against undue influence claims HHJ Matthews considered that the advice and explanation given by the solicitor was sufficient to free the deceased from any influence that might have been exercised by the first defendant. Coles v Reynolds [2020] demonstrates some of the appropriate safeguards that …
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Goss-Custard & anr v Templeman & ors [2020] WTLR 441

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2020 #179

Lord Templeman, who was a former member of the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords, was the father of the second and third defendants and the father-in-law of the first defendant. In 1996 he was remarried to a distant cousin, Sheila Edworthy, and moved home to live with her in a property called Mellowstone, Exeter, which she had inherited from her second husband, John Edworthy. Following his second marriage, Lord Templeman became very much part of his wife’s family and developed close bonds with her step-daughters, the claimants. On 3 December 2004 Lord Templeman and his wife made c...

Todd v Parsons [2020] WTLR 305

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Spring 2020 #178

T died in 2009, aged 96 years, leaving two adult children, her son, who was the claimant (C), and her daughter, who was the third defendant (D3). By a will document dated 25 September 2008, T appointed the first defendant (D1) and the second defendant (D2) as her executors. D1 was the daughter of D3 and T’s only grandchild. D2 was the solicitor who drafted the will document. Both remained neutral in the proceedings.

In June 2017, C brought a claim for probate in solemn form of the will document and for an order removing D1 and D2 as executors and appointing an independent personal...