Woman fails to overturn mother's will that benefited estranged sister

A woman has failed to overturn her mother's will, after claiming it left too much to her formerly estranged sister. The claimant failed to prove that her sister had “poisoned” her mother’s mind, so the court ruled that the will should be admitted into probate.

The mother was 78 years old when she died. She had always been close to one of her daughters but was estranged from the other. In 2012, she made a will that left her entire estate to the daughter she was in contact with and named her as the executor. By 2017, her cognitive powers were showing signs of impairment. Around this time, she changed her will to name both her daughters jointly as executors. The mother hoped it would reunite the family. She and her estranged daughter became closer but the relationship between the two sisters did not improve. 

As the mother's condition worsened, she expressed concern that the daughter she had always been close with was living in her home with her partner, whom the mother disliked. A social worker helped her write a letter to have them removed from the house. 

They didn't leave and the mother made a new will that shared her estate, including the house, between both sisters. The mother also gave power of attorney to her formerly estranged daughter. The solicitor said that while the mother was frail, she was of sound mind. The other daughter claimed the mother lacked testamentary capacity. She also claimed that her sister had undue influence over their mother and had “poisoned her mind” against her partner. 

The court ruled in favour of the formally estranged daughter. While there were issues with some of the evidence, the burden of proof fell on the claimant daughter to show her sister had undue influence over her mother, which she was unable to provide. The court ruled the will was valid and should be admitted into probate.

Please contact us for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of Private Wealth Disputes, including contentious and non-contentious probate, on 020 8290 0333 or email info@judge-priestley.co.uk

For more information on J&P’s Private Wealth Dispute Services, please click here.

to chat