James v James [2018] EWHC 43 (Ch)

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...

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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Law Reform: Will-making for the modern age

Jo Summers reviews the Law Commission’s will consultation from the point of view of the practitioner ‘Perhaps the most important part of the consultation relates to the question of mental capacity. The paper notes that the legal test for testamentary capacity comes from the case of Banks v Goodfellow which is hardly recent.’ On 13 …
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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 mak...

Kicks v Leigh [2014] EWHC 3926 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | May 2015 #149

Joyce Smith (Mrs Smith) lived at 49 Home Close, Wolvercote, Oxford (property). She had two daughters, the late Norma Kicks who died in January 2004, and the defendant. After her daughter’s death, Mrs Smith changed her will (will) in February 2008 and gave her entire net estate to the defendant, whom she had appointed sole executrix and trustee, to hold as to 50% for the defendant and 50% equally between Mrs Smith’s four grandchildren. The claimants were the two children of the late Norma Kicks. Mrs Smith’s health began to decline from November 2008. The defendant and her husband, who liv...

Testamentary Capacity: Banking on Banks v Goodfellow

Walker v Badmin has clarified the correct test for testamentary capacity. Araba Taylor explains ‘The clarity offered by the Walker judgment is very welcome, given the conflict between earlier first instance decisions and what the judge described as the “rather ambivalent view” in the textbooks.’It is now settled: the test for testamentary capacity in probate …
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