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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Mundil-Williams v Mundil-Williams & ors WTLR(w) 2021-11

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Web Only

Testamentary intentions: Presuming too much

A challenge to a will on the grounds of want of knowledge and approval where a compos mentis testator has read a professionally prepared will may seem doomed. Daisy Brown analyses a rare successful case A testator who has waited 24 years to change his will and then inexplicably gives two sets of contradictory instructions …
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Coles v Reynolds & anr WTLR(w) 2021-02

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Web Only

Probate: Promises, promises

The parable of the prodigal son has resonance in modern probate disputes. Alex Troup discusses ‘The judge’s finding that the deceased had deliberately broken the agreement to equalise the balance between her two children explained the difference between her old will and the disputed will.’ The parable of the prodigal son has all the makings …
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Wills: A risky business

Laura Abbott sets out what needs to be considered when challenging the validity of a will prepared by a professional ‘The court will require the strongest of evidence to find a will to be invalid and it is extremely difficult to succeed where the medical records and solicitors’ evidence are all supportive of validity.’ As …
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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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Elliott v Simmonds & anr [2016] EWHC 732 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | October 2016 #163

Kenneth William Jordan (Mr Jordan) died on 4 August 2012 leaving a wife (from whom he was estranged) and two adult children. The claimant was Mr Jordan’s partner during the last years of his life and the first defendant was his daughter from a relationship that predated his marriage. He had previously made a will giving pecuniary legacies to the first defendant and two of his sisters with the residuary estate passing to the claimant. Subsequently, in January 2012, Mr Jordan gave instructions to Mr Mumford (who was his brother-in-law), a solicitor with the firm Melia Mumford, to make a ne...

Testamentary Capacity: Facing the facts

McCabe v McCabe [2015] reaffirms the legal test for testamentary capacity in Banks v Goodfellow [1875]. Simrun Garcha reports ‘The court must consider all the relevant evidence and draw inferences from the material in reaching its decision as to whether the propounder of the will has proved the testator knew and approved its contents.’ The …
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Sharp v Hutchins [2015] EWHC 1240 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | September 2015 #152

Mr Butcher was born on 4 October 1939. He lived alone in a bungalow at 42 Russell Road, Enfield, London. He had no surviving parents and no children. He was close to his only sibling, Yvonne Butcher, with whom he lived. She died in 2002. Mr Butcher died on 5 May 2013 aged 73. He left a net estate worth £482,295.00. He was in good physical and mental health at the time of his death.

It was likely that in 1991 Mr Butcher had made a will which left his estate to Yvonne. In 2003, he made a new will following her death (‘the 2003 will’). He did so without the involvement of...