Coles v Reynolds WTLR(w) 2021-02

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Web Only

Contested wills: Beware cultural conventions

The unusual success of an undue influence claim overturning a will and lifetime transfer sheds light on best practice when dealing with clients who do not speak English. Aidan Briggs explains ‘The importance of a language barrier cannot be overstated in relation to the giving of instructions and the taking of advice.’ Cases where the …
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Undue influence: Reform needed?

Emily Exton and Rebecca Welman provide a summary of recent undue influence cases and outline their relevance for practitioners ‘It is long established that mere persuasion of the testator which results in a change of mind will not amount to undue influence.’ English law distinguishes between undue influence in the context of lifetime gifts and …
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Tachi v Woodward [2018] EWHC 2519 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Summer 2019 #175

The Claimant issued proceedings in October 2016 inviting the Court to pronounce against the will of the deceased dated 12 June 2007 and in favour of an earlier will dated 10 October 2006, which appointed the Claimant and one other as executors. The Defendant was the sole executor and beneficiary of the 2007 will. After the close of pleadings, directions were given and the matter listed for trial with a time estimate of 5 days, to commence on 5 November 2018.

On 6 March 2018 the Claimant invited the Defendant to consent to the deceased’s previous solicitors, Dixon Ward, being autho...

Edkins v Hopkins & ors [2016] EWHC 2542 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | January/February 2017 #166

The claimant was a friend and business colleague of Philip Hopkins, and the executor and main beneficiary under Mr Hopkins’ will dated 6 June 2014. The will draftsman, a partner in a law firm, attended Mr Hopkins at his home with two members of the firm’s staff who witnessed his signature. During the execution of the will, she noticed that Mr Hopkins was unwell and later that day he was readmitted into hospital. He died ten days later on 19 August 2014, having been diagnosed with unspecified alcoholic liver damage.

The claimant brought a claim to prove the validity of ...

Wills: Crossing a line

Brendan Cotter considers how likely a claim against a testamentary predator is to succeed ‘The classic sign of undue influence is the main beneficiary being active in the preparation of a will in which they take a substantial benefit.’As Hilaire Belloc wrote in Dedicatory Ode 1910: ‘The question’s very much too wide, and much too …
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Undue Influence: Tread carefully

Schomberg v Taylor demonstrates the high evidential burden of challenging a will under undue influence. Mark Keenan and David Hickmott explain ‘Where an allegation of undue influence is made, the burden of proof is on the party alleging the misconduct and the civil standard of the balance of probabilities applies.’ There are various grounds upon …
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Schomberg & ors v Taylor & ors [2013] EWHC 2269 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | October 2013 #133

The testatrix (W) was the second wife of the late Brian Taylor (H) and had two step sons, David (D) and Paul (P), the first and second defendants. She had a sister, Penny, who married the eighth defendant, Mr Bruce Peskin (B), and who had three children, the fifth to seventh defendants, Cindy, Andrew and Dominic (the 2008 beneficiaries). W and H visited Penny and B, until a few years before they died. They stopped doing so after B, who was in financial difficulties, repeatedly pressurised them to obtain financial assistance in relation to a property development and sale. As a result of t...

Wills: Focus first

Anna Bruce-Smith sets out the lessons to be learned from Wharton v Bancroft ‘Mr Justice Norris went out of his way to commend counsel for keeping the number of witnesses to a minimum by weeding out the periphery testimonies, in particular those who seemed keen only to air their grievances against either White Horse or …
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Wharton v Bancroft & ors [2011] EWHC (Ch) 3250

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | May 2012 #119

Mr Wharton (D) had been married many years ago and had two daughters from that marriage, Victoria and Gina, (V and G) the third and fourth defendants. He had another relationship which resulted in a third child, Amanda (A), the fifth defendant. He divorced his first wife in 1977 and cohabited with the claimant, Maureen, (M) who took his surname but did not marry him until immediately prior to his death in 2008. Between 1979 and 1995 D made and executed three successive wills all leaving substantial property to M and providing for his children, and some of M’s children, in various w...