A now retired solicitor who ‘assisted’ his two elderly aunts to change their wills, making him the principal beneficiary of both, has seen the court overturn them and reinstate earlier wills made by the two women. The decision followed a successful challenge by relatives who were beneficiaries under the women’s earlier wills.

The two women were visited by their nephew in December 2005. Both were in hospital at the time, one suffering from dementia and the other from cancer. Both also had very poor eyesight. He created new wills for them whereby he inherited a third of their estates, together valued at more than £400,000. They also gave him authority over their financial affairs and appointed him to be the executor of their wills.

Both of them died within two years.

The court ruled that the women could not have given ‘informed consent’ to the wills and that these were invalid. However, what recompense the relatives will receive has yet to be determined, because the assets of the estates have largely been distributed already and the executor has no assets.


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