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Court settles family dispute over a flat and a grandmother’s will

A grandmother’s will, which led to a family dispute over the ownership of her flat, has been upheld by the High Court. The grandmother had originally intended to leave the flat to her daughter and granddaughter and had written this into her will. When she was 90 years old, she moved in with them because her eyesight and health had deteriorated, although she could still cope mentally. However, tensions arose between the three of them so she moved back to her flat. She later updated her will after she decided that her daughter didn’t need the flat because she had recently bought a house. The grandmother decided to leave the flat to her other daughter instead.

This led to an argument with her granddaughter who had believed the flat would eventually come to her. The grandmother wrote to her granddaughter explaining that she had updated her will because circumstances had changed since it had first been written. The grandmother later died in a nursing home after a deterioration in her mental health. The granddaughter challenged the will saying that her grandmother had lacked testamentary capacity due to medication she was taking for her eyesight, and also that she had been unduly influenced by her other daughter. The court ruled that there was no reason to doubt the grandmother’s testamentary capacity as she was of sound mind at the date the will was executed. She had written to her granddaughter in rational terms to explain the reason for the changes. There was no evidence to suggest that the other daughter had exercised an undue influence over the grandmother, who had proved to be able to stand her ground during the disagreement with her granddaughter.

Please contact Hanah Wright if you would like help with drawing up a will, or more information about wills and probate.