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Contesting A Will : Choose Your Grounds Carefully

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

The Court of Appeal ruled that it would be “Cruel Charity” to grant permission to appeal in a distressing case of the Applicant contesting the validity of his late wife’s Last Will (Henein v Laffa, 2015.)

Suffering from terminal cancer, the applicant’s wife had made a Will leaving her entire estate to her son, (the step-son of the Applicant) just a week before her death.

Understandably shocked, the Applicant could not comprehend why his wife would have made her Will in such a way, excluding him completely. He, therefore, contested the validity of the Will, questioning whether there was any undue influence.

In such cases, it is the responsibility of the person claiming or suggesting undue influence  to prove that the Will was involuntary.

Judgment was given in the County Court, taking into account supporting evidence from medical professionals as well as from the solicitor who drafted the Will: the claim was rejected.

The Applicant wished to appeal, however permission was refused on the grounds that the Judge had carefully considered all facts of the case, and sufficiently dealt with the evidence, giving sound explanation.

It should be noted that whilst a claim of undue influence was not successful in this matter, there are other claims that the Applicant may have sought to rely upon. In a similar situation, a surviving spouse may choose to bring a claim for “reasonable provision” against the estate. Where a person excludes someone from their estate who (it may be considered) they ought to have been reasonably expected to provide for, a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 may be brought against the estate.

At Wilson Browne, we have the experience to give advice and assist in preparing and executing Wills, including considering any potential claims that may be brought against an estate and advising on those.

Our experience from “both sides of the fence” ensures that we are able to discuss, highlight and explain potential problems at the outset.

For advice on making a Will or contesting a Will contact our Specialist Team

Jennifer Laskey

Posted:

Jennifer Laskey

Partner

Jennifer is a Solicitor and Partner with 21 years experience advising clients in relation to litigated Will disputes. A Legal 500 recognised lawyer, Jennifer is a full member of ACTAPs and has resolved multi-million pound disputes for clients in Courts across England.