27 April 2018 by

A Poisoned mind? Set the Will aside

Fraudulent calumny, also sometimes known as ‘the poisoning of the mind’, is the name for a specific type of Will fraud. It has similarities to undue influence but there are subtle differences to note.

A claim of undue influence requires behaviour which is threatening, or coerces the person making their Will to write their Will in a particular way, whereas in a claim for fraudulent calumny, the person making the Will appears to have done so on their own accord, however they have actually done so because ‘A’ has cast dishonest aspersions on B’s character to the person making the Will.There are a specific set of elements that need to be proven in order for a claim of fraudulent calumny to be successful.

  1. ‘A’ has poisoned the mind of the person making the Will by casting dishonest aspersions on ‘B’’s character.
  2. ‘A’ knew that the aspersions made about ‘B’ were false or did not care whether they were true or false.
  3. ‘B’ must be a natural beneficiary for the person making the Will. This would be someone who would have expected to benefit under the Will, so perhaps a child or close relative.
  4. There are no other explanations for the disinheritance

If all these requirements are met and ‘B’ is cut out of the Will as a result, a successful claim of fraudulent calumny is likely to follow.

An example of this would be:

Lucy tells her mother that her brother John has been helping himself to their mother’s money for some time. Lucy knows this is not true, but lies to their mother saying that John has taken around £50,000 of their mother’s money over the years and has also stolen from other family members. Believing what Lucy has told her, when making her new Will, Lucy’s mother leaves her entire estate to Lucy and nothing to her son John.

John could challenge this Will on the grounds of fraudulent calumny if there is no other explanation for his mother writing her Will this way.

Where a Will challenge is successful on the grounds of fraudulent calumny, and the Will is found to be invalid and set aside, the deceased’s estate would instead be distributed in accordance with their previous Will, or, if they did not have a previous Will, pursuant to the intestacy rules.

If you are concerned about the validity of a will or want to find out more please contact one of our other solicitors in the Disputed Wills and Trusts team here.

13 April 2018 by

Government Plans for Stronger Protection against ‘Rogue’ Letting and Managing Agents

On the 1st April 2018 the government announced new proposals to introduce stronger protections for leaseholders and tenants against letting […]

20 April 2018 by

Changes to the second home Stamp Duty Land Tax surcharge

The additional 3% Stamp Duty Land Tax surcharge payable on all ‘second homes’ came in to force on 1 April […]

Signup To Our Weekly e-News

"*" indicates required fields

We’ll never share your details with any third party in line with our privacy policy.