Successful Challenge to Validity Will – Fraudulent Will & Lack of Testamentary Capacity
Daniel Winter was instructed by two of Mr A’s four children to investigate the validity of a will which disinherited one of them completely and left substantially less to the other when compared to an earlier will made a few years previously.
The investigations that Daniel led uncovered medical evidence that suggested the deceased had advanced Alzheimer’s disease and memory problems at the time the will was prepared and executed. In addition Daniel secured pre-action disclosure of the deceased’s bank statements which following a forensic study, found that the date entered on the will as the date of signature actually pre-dated the date the will was actually purchased on-line. A forensic handwriting expert confirmed that the date was entered by someone other than the deceased; the evidence thus suggesting the will was executed but then dated wrongly and potentially fraudulently. Evidence was obtained from the witnesses to the execution and inconsistencies were found in their statements.
Daniel advanced a claim on behalf of our clients that the last will was invalid on the basis that (a) the deceased did not have requisite testamentary capacity; (b) the other two children had a hand in the preparation of the will and must therefore discharge the burden of proof that the deceased knew and approved its contents; (c) the proper formalities for the creation of a valid will were not followed and/or (d) the will was fraudulently obtained.
Through a combination of the accumulation of evidence and intense legal argument it was possible to conclude the matter on the basis that the last will was accepted as invalid and the earlier will was submitted for probate.