On 26 September 2013 Chloe Brennan, 40 lost her High Court challenge to her father’s will in which he left most of his £630,000 estate to his brother and three sisters. Mrs Brennan claimed that two of her father’s sisters drafted the will two weeks before his death and used undue influence to make him execute it, although it left Mrs Brennan £100,000. Mrs Brennan claimed that she should have received everything as her father had promised her she would.
Mrs Brennan said that her aunts and uncle always refused to accept her as a one of their own as she was born illegitimately.
Judge Mark Hubert QC in the High Court acknowledged that suspicions were raised over the will by the absence of legal advice and because the will was ‘encouraged and drawn up by members of the family who stand to benefit from it’. However, he said that Mrs Brennan had not backed up her case with evidence, and despite her suspicions, she had failed to undermine the validity of the will, which had been executed according to the law.
This case shows the importance of instructing a solicitor to draft your will and of taking legal advice early on in a will dispute case to ensure the correct evidence is obtained, whether you are bringing or defending a will dispute claim.
If you are involved in a situation that sounds familiar, please do not hesitate to contact:
Natasha McKeever on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7201 3577 or;
Katie de Swarte on email@example.com or 020 7201 3576.