Three sisters have won a dispute with their father’s widow over the validity his will, which he made shortly before he died.
The case involved a man who lived in Grenada with his second wife. In 2014, he had visited England to see his three daughters from his previous marriage. While he was there he executed a will.
He then returned to Grenada where he died aged 74, leaving property in both England and Grenada.
The daughters discovered that his widow had applied for letters of administration of his estate in Grenada on the basis that he had died without making a will.
She assumed ownership of some of his Grenadian property without regard to the interests of his daughters who were entitled under the 2014 will.
The daughters took legal action both in England and Grenada to revoke the grant of letters of administration, and for them to be granted probate, which would enable them to administer their father’s estate in accordance with his will.
The widow claimed her husband had not executed the will, which did not reflect the discussions he had with her. Or, if he had made the will, it was because of undue influence.
The case was eventually settled in the English High Court, which ruled in favour of the daughters.
It held that the evidence showed the will had been duly executed, that the deceased had testamentary capacity and that he knew and approved of the contents of the 2014 will. He had left his widow some land but not as much money as she expected.
The terms of the will were entirely rational. It made less provision for his widow than she might have hoped for but that was a decision made by the deceased and fully communicated to his solicitor.
The 2014 will was accordingly admitted to probate.
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IN RE THE ESTATE OF ISHMAEL JAPAL, DECEASED sub nom (1) KIM JEANPIERRE-JAPAL (2) PAULINE JAPAL-DONALDSON (3) AMANDA JAPAL v URMILA DEVI JAPAL (2017)
Ch D (Judge Hodge QC) 10/07/2017