31 January 2013
Inheritance and Welfare Solicitor Ciara Hannawin discusses challenging a Will
There is an article in the Daily Telegraph today entitled 'Son fights Will that left Ferrari and allowance to father's mistress'..........
‘Mistress’ may seem like an unfair term to describe Pauline Greaves in this situation! They ‘effectively lived as man and wife’ for twelve years before his death. The deceased’s son is disappointed that his father put a Codicil in place just six weeks before his death which left his Ferrari, an annual income of £12,000 and the right to remain in their property to Mrs Greaves.
While Mr Stolkin believes that his father’s relationship with Mrs Greaves had deteriorated before his death, the Codicil will remain valid unless he can prove his father lacked the necessary capacity or was put under pressure to execute it. Reliance on matters such as whether or not it is likely that the deceased ‘wished to make significant provision for Mrs Greaves given the strained and distant nature of their relationship’ could result in a weak argument which is unlikely to succeed.
Any claim that is made against an estate should be supported by evidence. The article mentions that medical evidence exists to show that the deceased was ‘suffering from confusion’ at the time he signed the amendment to his Will. Depending on the severity of the confusion reported by the medical practitioner, this could be a key development in having the Codicil declared invalid.
Challenging a Will can be complex and is often expensive. It is recommended that legal advice is sought to gain initial guidance as to whether there is grounds for the challenge.
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