Copley v Winter WTLR(w) 2023-08

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Web Only

McLean & ors v McLean [2023] WTLR 267

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Spring 2023 #190

The claimants were all siblings and the biological children of Reginald McLean (Reginald), by his first marriage. The defendant was the biological child of Reginald and his second wife, Maureen (the deceased).

By mirror wills executed on 23 June 2017, Reginald and the deceased both left their estates to each other as survivors, and the residuary estate of the surviving spouse to the claimants and the defendant in equal shares (the 2017 wills). Following Reginald’s death, the deceased executed a new will on 16 August 2019 (the 2019 will) revoking her 2017 will and leaving her entir...

Reeves v Drew & ors WTLR(w) 2022-08

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Web Only

Fraudulent calumny: Setting aside wills obtained by lies

Ken To and Catherine Hau explore the success of challenges to wills based on fraudulent calumny in recent English jurisprudence It was not necessary for the party seeking to establish fraudulent calumny to prove that it was the only cause of the change in the testator’s intentions as to his or her testamentary dispositions. It …
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Whittle v Whittle & anr [2022] WTLR 1153

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Autumn 2022 #188

The deceased executed his will on 15 November 2016 and died on 7 December 2016 from leukaemia. Pursuant to the will, a bequest of cars and other chattels was made to the claimant (the deceased’s son), while the defendants (the deceased’s daughter and her partner) were made executors and beneficiaries of the residuary estate. The will justified the provision to the claimant on the basis that he had become estranged from the deceased.

The claimant challenged the will on the basis of fraudulent calumny, undue influence and want of knowledge and approval. In particular, the claimant c...

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 ...