The combination of a deathbed marriage, a millionaire and a new will was always likely to end in a court battle, and so it proved recently when a family challenged their late father’s will, which left everything to his new wife, who had been his partner for more than 30 years. The couple were married at his home shortly before he died in 2008. His three daughters, who are now contesting his will, were not present at the wedding.
Under the new will, the man’s wife, who was instrumental in helping him build up a successful business in Kent, was bequeathed his entire estate. His solicitor testified that his instructions regarding the new will had been clear. The man’s family claim that his widow used undue influence over him at a time when he was weak in order to persuade him to write a new will in her favour.
The man’s widow claims that the couple had a longstanding agreement that they would marry if either of them developed a terminal condition.
This case is yet another example of how easy it is for acrimonious disputes to develop in families when arrangements are left to be dealt with by ‘understandings’ or are made at the last minute – or worse still, as in this case, both.
It is sensible to execute your will and make arrangements for the administration of your estate in a timely manner and in a way that diminishes the scope for any dispute.
Click here for information on undue influence.