After his death – this is all fictional of course – Aiden’s last Will is found in which he leaves his “share” of Underworld, the factory on the cobbles, to his co-worker Alya Nazir. Of course, avid viewers will be aware that when Aiden wrote the Will he owned just 18% of the factory but at the date of his death he owned it all having been given the remaining 82% by Carla Connor in exchange for donating one of his kidneys to her.
Such twists and turns are the mainstay of the soap opera and keep fans tuning in week after week.
In the storyline, Aiden’s family want to retain the factory and are advised by a lawyer – Adam Barlow – to challenge the validity of the Will on the ground that Aiden Connor was not of sound mind when he executed the Will.
In the real world this argument would look at the legal definition of ‘sound mind’ – having the capacity to think, reason and understand for oneself. That would mean that Aiden needed to: –
- understand that he was making a will and its effects
- understand the extent of the property in his estate
- be aware of persons for whom he would usually be expected to provide (even if he chooses not to) and be free from any delusion of the mind that would cause him a reason not to benefit those people.
In the Coronation Street example, the fact that Aiden knew the extent of his property when he executed the Will is sufficient – if his interest in the factory changed later that is not relevant though it might have been sensible for him to review his Will when he was gifted the remaining share of the factory.
Whilst this storyline is not the best example of a basis upon which to challenge a Will it is a reminder that in certain circumstances a Will can be open to arguments that it is not valid. Other reasons for challenging a Will are
- arguing that the Will was made under undue influence
- that the Will or signatures to it are a fraud/forgery
- that the Will has not been executed in accordance with legal requirements
- that the Will itself does not reflect the instructions given to the solicitor
Aiden Connor’s case continues and we wait to see if the challenge to his Will can be successful or whether Alya Nazir will inherit the whole factory.