Daughter's inheritance claim against her dad's invalid will
We acted for a daughter in a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 against her late father’s estate. We also challenged the validity of her father’s Will on grounds of lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence. Here is a short summary of what the case involved.
Her father died leaving a Will which provided a legacy of £10,000 to our client and two friends. The residuary estate passed to the client’s half brother, Mr G.
It was our client’s case that she enjoyed a close relationship with her dad right up until his death. She maintained that Mr G had minimal involvement until the months prior to his death and was adamant throughout her claim that the deceased would have treated her and Mr G equally.
He made his last Will a few days before he died when he was elderly, frail and vulnerable. Our client was very concerned that her half brother had unduly influenced him in making his last Will at a time when he may have lacked capacity.
The solicitor who prepared the Will said the deceased told him he had no earlier Will and was estranged from our client. It was evident that Mr G was present and involved when the deceased was attended at home by the solicitor.
Mr G, in his evidence filed at Court, said that he was not aware of any earlier Will. However, our investigations revealed that Mr G had in fact driven the deceased to solicitors in order collect and destroy his earlier Will the day before he made his last Will. Mr G must therefore have known that there was a previous Will and that he was not the main beneficiary under that Will.
The daughter's case was always that her dad wanted to treat his children equally. Under his earlier Will he did just that.
The Inheritance Act claim was strengthened by the daughter's severe financial needs and disabilities. Mr G asserted a financial need, but failed to produce evidence in support.
The claim was robustly defended throughout and we were forced to commence Court proceedings. However, once court proceedings were underway, the defendant backed down and a settlement was reached at mediation which provided for our client to receive a lump sum of £120,000 from the estate.