A disinherited son has failed to prove that his father didn’t understand what he was doing in the final weeks of his life and his will should therefore be declared invalid.
The High Court heard that the father had originally made a will in 2008 that divided his estate between his son and his daughter.
In 2012, he suffered a heart attack and was diagnosed with cancer. He made a new will in 2013, from which the son was excluded. The father died shortly afterwards.
The son claimed the 2013 will was invalid because the father had lacked capacity to make it as a result of fatigue caused by anaemia, and that he had not known and approved of its terms.
He also said the daughter had poisoned his father’s mind against him by claiming he could not be trusted and had acted dishonestly in other family matters. The daughter claimed that the father had been upset by the son’s spending habits.
The court ruled in favour of the daughter. It took into account the evidence of a psychiatrist who said the father had not been suffering from any disorder of the mind that could have impaired his testamentary capacity.
The court held that the father had been capable of understanding the extent of his estate when he executed the 2013 will. The will was rational and properly executed. It had been prepared by a solicitor who considered that the father had capacity.
The son had also failed to provide any evidence that the daughter had unduly influenced the father to change the will in her favour. The change of heart was principally because the father had become critical of the way that the son spent his money after he had transferred part of his business to him.
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