June 2, 2016

Man gets permission to challenge will

Last week, the Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson, granted permission for Colin Randall to bring a claim challenging the document’s validity.

In the case of Randall v Randall, questions had been raised as to whether Mr Randall had sufficient interest to proceed with his challenge.

The Court of Appeal had heard how he had previously divorced his wife, Hilary, and at the time it was agreed that if she inherited more than £100,000 from her mother, anything above this amount would be divided evenly between the couple.

In fact when Hilary’s mother passed away, she left £100,000 to her daughter and the balance of the estate, which totalled some £150,000, went to Hilary’s children.

Mr Randall had launched a claim alleging that the will had been forged in an effort to defeat the arrangements made during the divorce process.

Lord Dyson dismissed suggestions that the challenge should not proceed on the grounds that Mr Randall was “a stranger to the estate.”

He said: “If this claim did not fall within the probate jurisdiction but fell within the general jurisdiction of the court, it is obvious that [Mr Randall] would have a sufficient interest in the subject matter of this litigation to bring the claim.

“He is not a mere busybody. He has a real interest in challenging the validity of the will.”

The view was supported by Lord Justice McCombe, who said: “It appears to me to be highly unjust that if, in circumstances similar to the present, a will had been forged in an attempt to defeat an order made in divorce proceedings, the party affected could not challenge the validity of the will in probate proceedings.”

For legal advice on drafting or updating a will please contact Tony Millson and Deanna Hurst in Royds’ Private Client team.

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