Undue influence is hard to prove - read out blog

5 Things to Know About Undue Influence

What is Undue Influence?  Undue influence is a ground upon which to challenge a will, calling into question the validity of the will itself. Claims for undue influence are made when someone suspects that the testator (the person who made the will) was under the influence of another person at the time the will was made. If a court finds that the will was made, either under coercion, or in […]

take independent legal advice to avoid a challenge to your will later on

Legal advice and Undue Influence

One ground for a will dispute is undue influence: when someone has been pressured or coerced into signing a will or other contract that affects their estate. The case of Brindley v Brindley [2018] EWHC 157 (Ch), provides an example of an undue influence claim which failed because the testator, the mother of the claimant, had sought independent legal advice before making the transfer. The Facts of Brindley v Brindley […]

undue influence claim

Proving an Undue Influence claim – is it the ‘only’ reason?

In the case of Wharton v Bancroft (2011) EWHC (Ch) 3250, a deceased man’s daughters disputed their father’s will, on grounds including undue influence, lack of capacity and want of knowledge and approval. This case highlights the difficulty of proving an undue influence claim, as well as the potential consequences for losing a will dispute. The Facts of Wharton v Bancroft Mr Wharton knew he had terminal cancer. He had […]

challenge a will on grounds of undue influence, lack of knowledge and approval, forgery, lack of testamentary capacity and failure to properly execute the will

5 ways to challenge a will

If you have been disappointed by the contents of a will, it’s natural that you will want to take action to challenge the will and rectify the situation. Sometimes it will be enough to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 to for ‘maintenance’. In other cases, it will be necessary to show that the will was invalid and so should not stand. In […]

Bruce Forsyth reportedly leaves everything to his wife to avoid Inheritance Tax and trusting that she will then distribute assets to his children and grandchildren

The trouble with Bruce Forsyth’s Will

The recent passing of Bruce Forsyth, legend of the British entertainment industry, might not be something you would expect to see on a blog about will disputes. He’s left an enormous fortune and has many children and grandchildren – but he has also left a will – so what’s the problem? What has caught our attention as contentious probate specialists is the suggestion that Mr Forsyth’s will leaves everything to […]

alcoholism in itself does not mean a person making a will does not have testamentary capacity, or that they will be more open to undue influence

Alcoholism and the validity of a will

A recent case looks at the relationship between alcoholism and testamentary capacity, and illustrates the reluctance of the Courts to overturn a will based on undue influence – particularly if an experienced solicitor has been involved in drawing up the will. As is often the case when the validity of a will is being challenged, the claim will be made up of a number of elements. In the recent case […]

2 older men whispering to each other perhaps one is poisoning the other's mind

Undue Influence or Fraudulent Calumny

In our last blog (at least for now) about undue influence, we look at undue influence and fraudulent calumny We’ve covered the issue of ‘undue influence’ in a couple of recent blogs, looking at the principles of undue influence as set out in the case of Edwards v Edwards, and then looking at undue influence in practice, looking at some cases where undue influence was – and where it wasn’t […]

Sepia image of an old man sittingon a bench and looking over the countryside

Undue Influence – what will (and what won’t) be enough?

Considering the question of ‘undue influence’ in more detail As we recently explained, proving undue influence when challenging a will can be difficult – but it’s not impossible. In this blog we look at some examples of circumstances where the courts have determined that undue influence was present – and also some examples of where it wasn’t. Undue Influence – the principles In our earlier blog about undue influence, we […]

inheritance act claims for reasonable financial provision

Will disputes – taking action before the testator has died

If you suspect that someone has made a will in suspicious circumstances, is there anything you can do before that person dies? The papers have recently reported a number of situations where high profile individuals: Bill Gates, Nigella Lawson and the like – have declared their intention to leave the majority of their fortunes to charity rather than their children. In these cases it seems unlikely that there is anything […]

cracking an egg with a sledgehammer

The Trouble with Undue Influence

One of the ways you can challenge the validity of a will is by showing that the testator was subject to ‘undue influence’ – but this is not always easy Someone you were close to has died. Whatever the circumstances, this is always going to be a highly emotional and distressing time, with lots to reflect on and organise. When you are also concerned that the will made by the […]