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Court upholds a woman’s second will despite suffering from dementia

An 86-year-old woman has had her will declared to be valid by the High Court despite suffering from dementia when she created it.

A dispute between the two brothers and two sisters was at the heart of the case.

The mother died in 2015, ate the age of 86. Her will created in 2010 left the house to one of the brother. However, in 2011 she created a new will stating that the estate should be split equally between all 4 siblings.

The brother who had been left the house in the original will, contested the 2011 will claiming that she suffered from dementia at the time as so was not of sound mind to do so. He believed that the 2010 will should stand which would entitle him to the house.

Evidence heard by the court, from the mother’s solicitor who created both wills, confirmed that he had no issues about the mother mental capacity. Her overriding intention was to treat all of her children equally.

In 2010 she left the house to her son as believed that she had been less helpful towards him in comparison to her other children. In 2011 she changed her mind about this and created the new will dividing her assets equally.

The court upheld the 2011 will. The evidence that had been presented the fact that the mother understood her actions. The solicitor believed that she had the capacity to do so, gave clear instructions and acted quickly in the execution of the draft will. She also provided a covering letter while returning the will with a covering letter confirming that she understood her actions.

The dementia had not adversely affected her testamentary capacity when she executed the will.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of wills and probate.

 

Cases featured

Court upholds woman’s second will despite her dementia
[2019] EWHC 2362 (Ch)
IN RE THE ESTATE OF BERYL PARSONAGE, DECEASED sub nom IAN PARSONAGE (Personal Representative) v (1) DUNCAN PARSONAGE (2) TOMAS PARSONAGE (3) SIAN FOLLEY (4) ALISON TAYLOR (2019)
Ch D (Birmingham) (Judge Simon Barker QC) 10/09/2019

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