In a recent article we outlined legal issues regarding capacity to make a Will.
A different but related question that is arising more frequently is whether a deceased person who has legal capacity has been coerced into changing his or her Will late in life.
Some older people, whilst still having legal capacity, find it harder to make decisions and become more easily influenced by those around them. Instances of greater pressure being applied to older people by potential beneficiaries seem to be increasing.
In a case of Dickman v Holley, a will containing bequest in favour of the Salvation Army where a person from that organisation was involved in the will making process was rejected for a number of reasons including undue influence. Undue influence is more easily inferred if a bequest is in favour of a party in a special relationship, such as the Salvation Army may have been in this case, or person’s trusted adviser such as their doctor or lawyer.