Many people believe that once their Will has been written that’s the end of it and their wishes would be carried out as they wanted. However, this is not always the case and the number of Wills being contested by disgruntled relatives is on the rise.
Anna Rea died in 2016. She had previously made a Will in 1986, leaving her assets split equally to her four children (3 sons and a daughter). However, in December 2015 she wrote a further Will but this time leaving her entire estate to her daughter Rita.
The later Will stated: “My sons have not taken care of me and my daughter Rita Rea 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.”
Despite this statement Rita’s three brothers challenged the Will, stating that their mother at the time of making it lacked testamentary capacity; that she spoke very little English and did not properly approve it. They further told the courts that Rita had manipulated their mother into making the 2015 Will through undue influence and that Rita had poisoned their mother’s mind against them by ‘fraudulent calumny’.
The brothers lost the case because it was found that Rita’s evidence on the main points was more persuasive than theirs and was more importantly, supported by evidence from her mother’s solicitor and doctor that the 2015 Will represented her true wishes. The brothers consequently lodged an appeal as they felt they had been unfairly treated at the original hearing. The appeal was however dismissed.
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