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We were recently involved in an unusual and important case to execute a Statutory Will for one of our client’s (‘P’). It became apparent that the most recent Will made by P had been made in secret under undue influence (whereby a person ‘P’ is induced to act otherwise than by their own free will or without adequate attention to the consequences).

P’s carer (C) had surreptitiously arranged for P to make a new Will which left the majority of her £500k estate to her. As a side note, having instructed a private investigator, it became clear that C was also forging hours worked and she was dismissed for gross misconduct…

The Judge ruled C’s conduct throughout their relationship was coercive and dishonest and it was certainly not in P’s best interests for the Will to remain in force.

Unusually, C was issued with a costs order for not accepting a more reasonable amount as a legacy under the Statutory Will and prolonging the proceedings.

Summarily, where it is believed that a Will has been made under undue influence and there is evidence to support the fact that it is not in P’s best interests, a Statutory Will application may be made and approved by the CoP despite objections. In our case, C grossly used their position as a carer and whilst it may be a lengthy battle, it is definitely worth pursuing where financial abuse has taken place previously and where it will prevent C from profiting further on the death of P.

If you would like to discuss anything in this article please contact our Court of Protection team on freephone 03443260049.