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  Contentious Wills newsletter

Welcome to the first edition of our Contentious Wills, Trusts and Probate newsletter. We hope you will find it useful.


Larke v Nugus – tips from the dark side


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Contesting a Will - An Overview

With an ageing population, a dramatic increase in house prices and more complex family structures, will disputes are becoming increasingly common.

If you've been cut out of a will or you do not think you've been left enough . . .

If you have been left out of a friend or family member's will, or if you do not think you have been left enough, then you may be able to make a claim for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.


2017 case round-up

2017 has been a busy and formative year for claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the “Act”), so here’s a round up and summary of some of the key cases of 2017.

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When backstabbing backfires – challenging a will for fraudulent calumny

The recent case of Christodoulides v Marcou gives a rare example of a successful challenge to the validity of a will on the basis of fraudulent calumny.

What is fraudulent calumny?

Fraudulent calumny involves a person making false representations about another person, to a testator, with a view to inducing the testator to preclude the other from the benefits under their will. In these cases, where fraud is proven, the will be held to be invalid.

In the case of Re Edwards, Edwards v Edwards [2007], Lewison J said the following: –

“… if A poisons the testator’s mind against B, who would otherwise be a natural beneficiary of the testator’s bounty, by casting dishonest aspersions on this character, then the will is liable to be set aside…”


"One day, all of this will be yours": When the promise of inheriting a family business is broken

"One day, all of this will be yours" is a saying often heard when family business owners are succession planning. Promising to pass a family business to a younger generation can provide peace of mind and often cheap labour for the business owner; and motivate younger generations to work hard and ensure the business is successful.

However, it is not uncommon to see these promises to not come to fruition, and when a business owner dies the family business to go to another family member or an unrelated third party.

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Larke v Nugus – tips from the dark side

For most Wills and Probate Solicitors and Will Writers, a Larke v Nugus request is relatively rare. But what is a Larke v Nugus request, what are your obligations and how do you respond.

From a contentious point of view, a Larke v Nugus request is an essential tool to establish the circumstances surrounding the drafting of the will and to properly understand some key issues.

Challenges to wills are becoming increasingly common, and disappointed beneficiaries often enthusiastically accuse family members of undue influence and fraud; and capacity issues are more common largely due to an ageing population, the rise in mental health issues such as dementia and alzheimers, and a greater awareness of mental health issues in general.

A Larke v Nugus request is often one of the first steps taken by contentious practitioners when investigating a potential claim.


Ben Wilson, Forbes Associate



To read more about our Contentious Wills, Trusts and Probate specialist, click here.

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The content of this e-alert is merely informative and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice