Boodle Hatfield successfully succeeds on three grounds in a will validity claim

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20 Feb 2024

Boodle Hatfield successfully succeeds on three grounds in a will validity claim

Leading private wealth Law firm, Boodle Hatfield, has secured a significant High Court victory in setting aside a will, succeeding on three grounds.

During the course of the trial, which took place in November 2023, Partner, Nicola Bushby and Associate, Katherine Reed, acting for the Claimant, successfully persuaded the court that the will was invalid and should be set aside on three grounds: (i) lack of testamentary capacity; (ii) want of knowledge and approval and (iii) undue influence.

The groundwork for the Chancery claim was carried out during the Deceased’s lifetime in the Court of Protection, which started in 2020, where Nicola and Katherine obtained a doctor’s assessment of the Deceased’s capacity despite being blocked by two of the Deceased’s children.  As it turned out, this was the only occasion in which independent access to the Deceased was achieved. Nicola and Katherine were successful on an application for contempt of court during the course of these proceedings.

Partner, Nicola Bushby comments: “Deputy Master Bowles’ judgment serves as a helpful reminder of the law, particularly around the application of undue influence which, as the Deputy Master recognises, almost always has to be determined inferentially and requires a high burden to be met. This dispute is also significant in the way it highlights how important the interplay can be between the Court of Protection and the Chancery Division to support remedies and successful outcomes in cases where there are complex capacity issues involving exploitation and coercion.”