JMW Solicitor’s successful early resolution at mediation of clients’ Contested Will case on grounds of invalidity

The case involved a validity challenge to our clients’ late grandmother/great-grandmother’s will. The deceased left 3 wills, one made in 2014 leaving the residue estate to her son and to our clients by substitution; a will in 2015 made 12 days after the deceased’s son’s sudden death leaving the residuary estate to the deceased’s plumber (who later was her POA) and his wife; and a will made in 2016 leaving all the deceased’s estate to her plumber and his wife with a conditional legacy of £10,000 to one of our clients if they did not challenge the will.

The deceased’s medical records show she was registered blind, hard of hearing and suffered with Charles Bonnet Syndrome (a condition which can cause hallucinations due to failing eyesight). The deceased had also been admitted to hospital under a deprivation of liberty order just 6 weeks before the 2016 will was made. Medical evidence supported the fact the deceased was vulnerable and susceptible to improper influence and social care records confirmed she required her plumber’s assistance to make important decisions.

Our clients did not want the stress of litigation which would be a time-consuming and draining process, and so were keen to try and resolve the matter before proceedings were issued. We obtained a preliminary view from a medical expert which was unsupportive of a challenge based on incapacity – the reports of delusion were well recorded but there was no suggestion the deceased was suffering from delusion at the time of providing instructions for the 2015 and 2016 wills. However, the deceased’s medical records and the opinion of the medical expert supported the possibility of there having been undue influence given the deceased’s vulnerability following the sudden loss of her son and the timing of the later will. 

The net estate was worth over £850,000 and we successfully secured a settlement, at mediation, of over £400,000 plus costs for our clients.  This will allow our clients to inherit monies from their grandma/great grandma as had always been discussed with her as well as provide security for their family in the future.

Client’s comment;

‘…we couldn’t of done it without yourself, Alison and Max, so thank you all so much……You have all been brilliant.’ 

Get in touch

To speak to one of our contentious probate solicitors about challenging a will or any other issue relating to a will dispute or a claim on an estate, get in touch with JMW today. Simply call us on 0345 872 6666 or fill in our online enquiry form to request a callback.

Claire Brierley
Associate Solicitor
Will and Trust Disputes
Alison Parry
Partner
Will and Trust Disputes

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