Brothers in dispute over their father's will
A man has successfully challenged his father’s will, which he suspected had been drawn up in suspicious circumstances.
The issue arose because when the father died, it emerged that he had made two wills in the two years before his death. The first will was made in 2007 and divided his estate equally between his two sons.
The second will was made in 2009 and gave everything to one of the sons and nothing to the other.
The disinherited son took legal action saying that either his father did not know about the 2009 will or that the brother had exerted undue influence on him when he drew it up.
The court heard medical evidence that while it could not be categorically stated that the father would not have known what he was doing when he disinherited one of his sons, it was safe to say that his mental capacity was significantly impaired at the time due to illness.
His illness would have adversely affected his ability to understand and approve of the contents of the 2009 will.
In the light of that evidence, the burden of proof fell to the brother who would inherit. However, he had not been able to produce any evidence to show that his father did know what he was doing when he drew up the second will.
The court also took into account the fact that the father had always recognised his sons’ equal status and there was no apparent reason why he should suddenly disinherit one of them.
The 2009 will was therefore set aside.