Thinking of Making a Will Without Legal Advice? Read This First!

Having your will professionally drafted and signing it in front of a solicitor really is the best way of ensuring that your wishes are honoured after you are gone. In a case on point, the High Court gave effect to a matriarch’s final will, despite her daughter’s concerted attack on its validity.

WillBy the will, the woman, who died just before her 97th birthday, left small legacies to two of her daughters and everything else that she owned, including her home, to her son. One of the daughters claimed that she had lacked the mental capacity to make a valid will and that the son had exerted undue influence over her.

In ruling on the dispute, the Court noted that the will was rational on its face. The daughter’s claim that her mother was incapacitated by dementia when she signed it was wholly undermined by contemporaneous medical records. There was also no evidence to support the daughter’s allegations that her mother’s signature on the will was a forgery or that the son had forced her to sign it.

The professional drafting of the will and its execution in the presence of a solicitor created a strong presumption in favour of its validity. The daughter’s contradictory, self-serving and deliberately misleading evidence came nowhere near to dislodging that presumption. The Court had no hesitation in upholding the validity of the will and thanked the son’s lawyer for his assistance in what was an extremely emotionally charged case.