Testamentary capacity: Stick to the rules

Pauline Lyons discusses a case that outlines the importance of following procedure when will drafting When scrutinised and tested by the court in the course of Gavin Boast’s validity claim, the evidence showed that the will could not be upheld within the realms of the Banks v Goodfellow test and was accordingly set aside. The …
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Musings from Manchester: What factors the court will consider when a will is disputed

A critical aspect of knowledge is not what you know, but where to look for it. Geoffrey Shindler explains how approaches to information management have changed for the trust and estate practitioner What I thought, and still do think, is important is to know where I can find the answers to the questions that arise. …
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Wills: The effect of joint tenancies

Kieran Forsyth reviews a case that demonstrates the importance of obtaining a notice of severance of a joint tenancy and filing it at the Land Registry Dunbabin is notable for the fact that it demonstrates that the execution of mirror wills can be sufficient to sever a beneficial joint tenancy, even if those wills are …
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Wills: High Court rules against multimillionaire’s 2014 will

Documentary records were critical in establishing lack of knowledge and consent in a high-value judgment over an illiterate settlor’s will. Kevin Modiri discusses One would expect that if after just two years, a testator made a significant change to their will that cut out three residuary beneficiaries who together stood to inherit over £46m, a …
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Wills: Documentary evidence trumps witness testimony

Oliver Auld and Lydia Kember examine the inherent unreliability of witness testimony based on memory Solicitors will now be under a personal obligation to avoid producing witness statements that are over-lawyered or in any way present a narrative which does not match the witness’s own recollection. There is an inherent difficulty that many challenges to …
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Will construction: Context is key

Interpreting wills is not a question of dictionary definitions. Elis Gomer examines a case that underscores this principle It is unhelpful to stick too dogmatically to the ‘dictionary’ meaning of a word or term when there is a likelihood that it is being used – for whatever reason – in an unconventional way. The recent …
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The 1975 Act: Contracts to leave property by will

Sismey v Salandron illuminates the risks to a party attempting to hold an estate to a lifetime contract that property would be left to them, or to anyone seeking to unbind the estate from the ties of such a contract. Imogen Halstead discusses While the court has previously discussed the possibility of collusive divorce settlements …
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Wills: Sealing royal wills – justifiable secrecy?

Natasha Dzameh reviews the High Court’s decision to seal the will of His late Royal Highness Prince Philip In determining whether the will and other probate documents would be open to inspection, the public interest issue would likely be determinative. The sovereign’s will need not be proved by a grant of probate. However this is …
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Probate: In at the deep end

Lessons can be learned about trial conduct when litigants appear in person and more in Lonsdale v Teasdale. Elis Gomer elucidates While showing a ‘real doubt’ as to capacity is not a trivial requirement in evidential terms, once that has been done, the burden will be on the party seeking to propound the will to …
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Powers of appointment: All in the wording

Elizabeth Houghton examines implied revocation of deeds of appointment Those drafting wills should be cautious about including general ‘sweeper’ wording unless there is a good reason to. In the recent case of Equiom (Isle of Man) Ltd v Velarde [2021] it was held that a wide power of appointment contained in a will had the …
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