Morris v Fuirer & ors [2022] WTLR 659

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2022 #187

The claimant, who was the only child of Cynthia Morris (the testatrix), was the principal beneficiary under her will dated 25 October 2000 but not under later wills made on 28 November 2006 and 14 July 2010 (the wills). The testatrix died on 7 August 2017. Under the terms of her last will, the second and third defendants were appointed as executors; pecuniary legacies were bequeathed to the claimant (£35,000), the first defendant (£70,000) and the fourth defendant (£10,000); and her residuary estate was gifted to the sixth to ninth defendants who were charities. The claimant first intima...

St Clair v King & anr [2022] WTLR 703

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2022 #187

The defendants were the executors of the deceased’s last will dated 20 May 2009 (the 2009 will). The claimant, who was the stepdaughter of the deceased, challenged the 2009 will. There were seven issues at trial:

  1. (i) whether 2007 wills made by the deceased and her husband (the claimant’s father) were mutual wills such that if the 2009 will was admitted to probate, the estate needed to be administered to give effect to a constructive trust reflecting the terms of the 2007 will;
  2. (ii) whether there was a contract between the claimant and the deceased before the 2009 wi...

Fraudulent calumny and undue influence: When foul play is suspected

Amanda Noyce examines where we are now after Whittle v Whittle  In both Christodoulides and Whittle the testator was frail, elderly and close to death and the calumniator was living in their parent’s house and had isolated the parent. How often does the heart of a contentious probate lawyer sink when a new enquiry is …
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Probate: An unusual occurrence

Toby Bishop describes when a reverse summary judgment in a probate claim may be necessary The Deputy Master concluded the allegations made against Ms Fuirer were so fanciful that they should never have been made. Because of the inquisitorial role of the court and the factual matrix surrounding the preparation and execution of wills, it …
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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 ...

Coles v Reynolds & anr WTLR(w) 2021-02

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Christodoulides v Marcou [2020] WTLR 883

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Autumn 2020 #180

The claimant and the defendant were sisters, the daughters of Agni Iacovou (the testatrix). By her will dated 7 August 2012 (the will), made shortly before her death two days later, the testatrix gave her entire net residuary estate to the claimant whom she appointed to be her executrix. The claimant issued proceedings on 18 June 2014 seeking an order that the court pronounce for the will in solemn form. The defendant defended the claim on the basis that the will had been procured by fraudulent calumny – that the claimant had poisoned the mind of the testatrix by casting untruthful asper...

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...

Nemazee v Nemazee [2020] WTLR 637

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2020 #179

On 27 May 2015 the deceased entered into four transactions: first, a long lease of her flat, in exercise of her right to buy; second, a legal charge over her leasehold interest in favour of the defendants; third, a declaration of trust that she held the leasehold interest on trust for herself and her granddaughter as beneficial joint tenants; fourth, a will leaving her residuary estate to her three sons in equal shares. The claimant sons initially claimed that the deceased lacked capacity to execute the will and declaration of trust, and pleaded lack of knowledge and approval and/or undu...

Todd v Parsons & ors [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...