In the matter of: JOHN BLAIR ANTHONY McKEEN DECEASED
1. VIVA! CAMPAIGNS LIMITED
2. THE VEGETARIAN SOCIETY OF THE UNITED KINGDOM LIMITEDV
MRS JENNIFER MARIEGOLD SCOTT
The main action was a contentious probate dispute in which the defendant, who was the younger sister of the deceased, sought to overturn all of his five wills on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity. The deceased had suffered from severe schizophrenia throughout his lifetime. The claimants were the residuary legatees of his final will, entitling them to the lion-share of the deceased’s considerable estate. In his main judgment, the judge accepted that the deceased’s condition was severe. He acknowledged that this placed the burden of proof on the claimants to establish that the deceased had capacity when he prepared and executed his wills. However, he held that the claimants had discharged this burden. The deceased was capable of gathering his thoughts towards ‘goal directed activity’, and all five of his wills were valid. His decision to exclude the defendant from any entitlement to his estate, the judge found, was a natural consequence of their distant and fractious relationship.