A mother’s will, which left nearly all her estate to her daughter, was not overturned by her three sons.

The original will divided her estate equally between the four children. Unfortunately, her health started deteriorating in 2009 and her daughter moved in as her carer until her demise in 2016.

During this period, her sons offered little assistance which led the mother to create a new will in 2015. This left £1,000 to each son and the remainder to her daughter.

The largest asset was her house, valued at approximately £750,000. A declaration within her will stated: “I declare that my sons do not help with my care and there have been numerous calls from me but they are not engaging with any help or assistance. My sons have not taken care of me and my daughter has been my sole carer for many years.

“Hence should any of my sons challenge my estate I wish my executors to defend any such claim as they are not dependent on me and I do not wish for them to share in my estate save what I have stated in this Will.”

Her solicitor obtained a medical report confirming her sound mental capacity before signing the will. The doctor same doctor acted as a witness to the mothers signature on the will.

The will was contested by the three brothers who claimed their mother had limited knowledge of the English language. They also claimed their mother did not know or approve the will, as it was a creation of their sisters’ undue influence and fraudulent activity in creating the will.

The High Court judgement was found in favour of the sister. The mother had her own, clear, views while being determined and strong willed. Although English was not her first language, she moderate capabilities of speaking and could understand what others were saying to her.

The evidence provided by her solicitor and doctor was compelling. It allowed the Court to confirm beyond any reasonable doubt that the mother understood the effect of the new will and therefore approved its contents.

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

Brothers fail to overturn their mother’s will leaving estate to sister
[2019] EWHC 2434 (Ch)
RITA REA (EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF ANNA REA, DECEASED) v (1) REMO REA (2) NINO REA (3) DAVID MARK REA (2019)
Ch D (Deputy Master Arkush) 13/09/2019