Capacity: Importance of the golden rule

Kevin Kennedy and Andrew Walls report on the test in Banks v Goodfellow ‘This judgment provides very significant support that the Banks v Goodfellow test is the sole test for the court to apply when judging testamentary capacity post mortem.‘ The High Court in James v James [2018] has ruled that the test in Banks …
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James v James & ors [2018] WTLR 1313

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Winter 2018 #170

The deceased was a self-made man who had operated a farming business and a haulage company in partnership with his wife (the third defendant) and his son (the claimant). Over the course of his life, he purchased a number of parcels of agricultural land in Dorset. In 2007 he gave two of these parcels to one of his daughters (the first defendant). In 2009 the partnership dissolved, and the deceased transferred one of the parcels to himself and the third defendant to hold jointly. At the same time the claimant was given one of the parcels and the haulage business.

The deceased died i...

White v Philips
 [2018] WTLR 1559

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Winter 2018 #170

The deceased, Raymond Ian White, died on 22 July 2010, a year after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. On 28 May 2010 he gave instructions for a will to a legal executive at a local law firm; this will was executed on 4 June 2010.

The claimant, Linda White, was the deceased’s widow. The defendant was one of his three children from a previous marriage, and was appointed executrix by the June 2010 will. Mrs White claimed that at the time the deceased gave the instructions and executed the will he lacked testamentary capacity, partly due to the strong opioid drugs he was taking. ...

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 the 2014 wil...

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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Burns v Burns [2016] EWCA Civ 37

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | June 2016 #160

On 21 May 2010 the deceased died, aged 89, leaving two sons: the appellant and the respondent. The respondent claimed pronouncement in solemn form of an alleged will of the deceased dated 26 July 2005, which divided the deceased’s estate equally between the appellant and the respondent. The appellant challenged the validity of the 2005 will on the basis that the deceased lacked testamentary capacity at the date of its purported execution and on the basis that the deceased did not know and approve of the contents of the same.

In September 2003 social services began to assist with t...

Walker & anr v Badmin & ors claim no HC121304229

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | April 2015 #148

Elizabeth Jane Walker (Mrs Walker) was born on 25 March 1956. She married John Walker in 1981, and with him she had two daughters, Jennifer and Alison. In 2007, she left her husband and began to live with Michael Badmin (Mr Badmin).

On 20 June 2009, Mrs Walker was diagnosed with a terminal, malignant brain tumour. Following the prescription of medication, she began to suffer from symptoms of psychosis. However, her condition gradually improved, and she was discharged from hospital on 20 July 2009. Mrs Walker’s health begun to deteriorate in Autumn 2009. By October, she was bed-bou...

Trust And Probate Claims: Counting the cost

Alexander Learmonth examines the effect of the Supreme Court’s decision on the costs of the claim for rectification of a will in Marley v Rawlings [2014] ‘When advising clients contemplating the risks of litigation, litigators should continue to adopt a cautious approach; clients must be ready to negotiate in good faith, rather than relying on …
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Wills: A will writer’s work of fiction

Edward Hicks explores the implications of Re Catling [2014] ‘The Ministry of Justice has recently rejected regulation of the will-writing sector. This case is an illustration of the potential disastrous consequences of allowing unregulated so-called “professionals” to act in this sector.’ In 2005 Mrs Catling was an elderly widow. She had eight children. She was …
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Catling & ors v Catling & anr [2014] EWHC 180 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | July/August 2014 #141

This was the trial of a probate action relating to the estate of the late Mrs Joyce Beech Catling (Mrs Catling). She was married to Arthur Joseph Catling (Mr Catling) and they had eight children. The first defendant was the youngest child. The claimants, the seven older children, seek probate in solemn form of her will dated 23 August 2004 (the 2004 will) and codicil dated 2 November 2005 (the 2005 codicil) and say that the court should pronounce against a later will dated 11 May 2007 (the 2007 will), on the ground that Mrs Catling no longer had testamentary capacity and/or did not know ...