A recent high-profile case where a new will was written in another country shows how family disputes can all too easily arise. The case involved an Indian man, who normally lived in Britain, who was killed in a traffic accident during a visit to India with his son in 2005. His son contended that the man had executed a new will in India three days before his death, giving his entire estate to him. The man’s daughters argued that the will made just prior to their father’s death was procured by undue influence, or was not executed by their father, or that it was created without him having knowledge of its contents. His previous intention had always been to provide for his daughters.
The court decided that, as there was no evidence of undue influence, the claim failed.
Ron Kerslake, a Probate Executive in the Private Client Department at Kidd Rapinet’s Slough office says: “This tragic case underlines how critical it is to be absolutely clear what are your intentions”.
The man’s will-writer in India testified in the British court that the will was drafted according to the man’s instructions, and without pressure being exerted on him, and was confirmed by him when it was read back to him. The court also ruled that in the absence of a statement limiting the effect of the will to the man’s assets in India, it must be presumed to include his entire estate. A challenge on that basis therefore also failed.
Ron Kerslake comments: “What this case very clearly shows is if an arrangement is being contemplated that will only benefit one member of the family, it is a very wise precaution to seek legal advice so that it can be shown that the arrangement was understood and entered into freely”.
If you feel you may need advice Kidd Rapinet can advise you on the latest law in this field. Call Ron Kerslake on 01753 532541f or further information.