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Will Disputes Likely To Increase

There is likely to be an increase in the number of disputes over wills as the UK’s population gets older, this is due, in no small part, to the increase in those suffering from Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

A recent example of this type of will dispute, was that of interior designer, Michael Inchbald. He famously worked on Claridge’s, the Savoy hotel and the QE2. He sadly died in 2013 at the age of 92. The designer left behind a £20 million estate (including one of London’s grandest private houses in Kensington and a collection of valuable antique clocks). A will written in 2007 dictated that the estate be split estate equally between his two children. His son is now disputing this.

A will made two years earlier, in 2005, put his daughter Amanda’s share into a trust from which she would receive an income for life. When she died, the capital sum would then revert to her brother Courtenay and his family. However, this will was replaced by his most recent 2007 will; effectively nullifying the trust fund format through which Amanda would receive her inheritance.

His son’s lawyer, Richard Wilson QC, claimed that Mr Inchbald didn’t understand the change made to his will in 2007 because he was suffering from dementia.

Lawyer Adam Draper states that this case is similar to many others. They key issue in the Inchbald case and others like it is for the courts to decide to what extent Michael Inchbald’s capacity had declined by 2007 when the second will was made. The court has to consider the medical evidence, the evidence of the solicitor who took the instructions for the will and evidence from relevant witnesses.

This case is sensitive, difficult and hard to judge. To minimise will disputes in these instances, it is important that the lawyers drafting your will are familiar with applications for Lasting Power of Attorney or how to deal with the Court of Protection.

Will Protect can help you to make the right decisions during difficult times when it comes to mental illness. If you would like to discuss the options you face, or if you’d like to talk to us about any of our services, please don’t hesitate to call our friendly team on 0845 8948 441.