Undue Influence In making a Will
An interesting test case has proved that a Will can be set aside if pressure has been levied on that Testator or Testatrix by a family member or associate, most particularly a child or spouse. The Court found that a Testatrix had not acted under her own wishes but instead had given into family pressure in this case to conform to traditional cultural values that ruled out several of her children in order to achieve this.
Whilst this case is unusual because there were letters in existence written by the Testatrix which showed her true desire to be equal with all of her children, it is instructive in seeing that the Courts are more and more ready to read pressure and undue influence into the wishes and intentions of a person making a Will.
If there is to be any exclusion of a family member it just shows the vital importance in making it clear why such a decision has been taken. The final Will executed by this Testatrix involved in the case seems to have come unstuck because it was inconsistent with previously stated intentions and wishes in earlier Wills and letters and had no explanation to explain at all or convincingly why there had been a reasonable change in stance.