Lack of Capacity
The deceased was an elderly gentleman, a widower with children. In what appeared to be his last will, he left much of his property to a neighbour. This was at variance with the contents of a number of previous wills, in which he left all of his property to his children. The estate was valued at over €1,000,000.
Acting on the instructions of one of the deceased’s children, we looked at whether the deceased had the necessary mental capacity to make what appeared to be his last will. To make a valid will, a testator or person making the will must be of sound mind and fully understand the nature and effect of what is being done.
We investigated the deceased’s medical history and discovered that he was suffering from dementia at the time the will was executed. Medical evidence as to his capacity to make the will was not obtained at that time. There was also a suggestion that the deceased was under undue influence from the neighbour to make the will in his favour.
We advised on the issue of the necessary Court proceedings to challenge the will, resulting in it being set aside by agreement. This resulted in the previous will, which benefitted the deceased’s children, being admitted to Probate and forming the basis for the distribution of his estate, much to the relief of his children.