Disputed Wills, Trusts and Estates Bulletin - May 2016

Thursday, 12th May 2016

Beneficiaries right to information (costs consequences)

The extent to which a beneficiary is entitled to trust information is a frequent cause of friction between beneficiaries and trustees/executors. The basic principle is that a right to trust information arises under the Court inherent jurisdiction to supervise and, if necessary, to intervene on behalf of the beneficiary to enforce the trust against the trustees.

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Widow's claim for reasonable financial provision dismissed

On 12 February 2016, the Central London County Court dismissed a claim for financial provision brought by the spouse of the deceased under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. It is thought that this may be the first time that a claim by a widow for reasonable financial provision has been dismissed at trial.

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Will valid despite evidence of lack of mental capacity

The recent case of Burns v Burns [2016] EWCA Civ 37 provides the latest statement from the Courts regarding the law on testamentary capacity (i.e. the mental capacity required to make a valid Will) and the basis upon which a Will can be overturned for lack of capacity or want of knowledge and approval.

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Burials and Cremation

One of the areas that can exacerbate the already distressing situation following a death is where there is an argument about where the Deceased should be buried, or whether there should be a burial or a cremation.

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Forgery and Wills

It is fair to say that a Will can be challenged in a number of different ways however, perhaps one of the more exciting areas is forgery. Increasingly, cases of forgery are coming before the Court for determination despite the heavy burden the Claimant has to discharge in order to be successful.

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