fbpx

Casting Aspersions to Change Inheritance Proves Unsuccessful

2nd February 2018 By Arman Khosravi

Wills made or varied just before death are a frequent source of dispute and court appearances, and it was just such an occurrence that led to a High Court hearing recently.

The case concerned the estate of a woman who died in 2014, two days after making a will leaving everything to one of her two daughters, who was also made executor of the estate. The other daughter contended that the will was procured by ‘fraudulent calumny’ – the casting of untruthful aspersions against someone else’s character which ’caused the discretion and will of the testatrix to be overborn’.

The allegation made was, in effect, that the second daughter had helped herself to a substantial amount of their mother’s assets. The daughter who stood to inherit the entirety of the estate claimed that the terms of the will were designed merely to redress the balance between her and her sister as their mother had always wished to divide her estate more or less equally between them. However, her accusation that her sister had taken assets was untrue.

It is important to note that the will could not be set aside just based on the fact that the mother had the mistaken belief that one of the daughters had taken a portion of her assets. It was also necessary for the Court to be satisfied that the mistaken belief was induced by fraudulent calumny.

On the evidence, the Court accepted that this was the case and that the will was invalid. There being no earlier will, the estate must now be administered according to the laws of intestacy.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Relationship Status Put Under Spotlight in Divorce Case

26th February, 2024 By

Divorce proceedings are rarely cut and dry, especially where the passage of time adds complexity to matters. This was certainly so in a recent case that required a Family Court judge to rule on the validity of a decree nisi. The case centred on the divorce proceedings of a couple in their fifties and focused on a decree nisi that had been pronounced in 2012, following an application by the husband. Now seeking to finalise the divorce with a decree absolute, the husband asserted that the decree nisi had been properly...

Will Execution – Remote Witnessing Legislation Expires

22nd February, 2024 By

A legal amendment that was made during the COVID-19 pandemic allowing the witnessing of wills to take place via videoconferencing has officially expired. As of 31 January 2024, the Wills Act 1837 (Electronic Communications) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Order 2020 is no longer active. It was introduced in response to the pandemic, as a means of facilitating the valid execution of wills via remote witnessing. The Order applied to wills made between 31 January 2020 and 31 January 2022, but was later extended to 31 January 2024. Section 9 of the Wills Act...

Psychotherapy Condition Leads to Contact Order Appeal

20th February, 2024 By

Wherever possible, the courts will do what they can to support contact between parents and children but, in some instances, that contact comes with conditions attached. The nature of such conditions was the cause of contention in recent appeal proceedings brought by the father of two young boys. The man appealed against a High Court order that allowed for contact periods with his children, which would progress from supervised to unsupervised and increase in length but were dependent upon him engaging in psychotherapy. This condition had been imposed following a...

Beware of Builders Offering Cut-Price Work – Court of Appeal Cautionary Tale

16th February, 2024 By

Every householder should understand the dire risks involved in opening their doors to those promising to carry out cut-price building work. A Court of Appeal decision provided distressing examples of almost the worst that can happen. A householder approaching retirement age was taken in by a workman who knocked on his door, offering to paint the front of his home for £1,000. He was introduced to another man – the offender – whom the workman described as his business partner. The pair proceeded, over a period of months, to carry...