Court of Appeal rules ex-husband can challenge ‘forged’ will

Lindsey Sharples Cropped

By Lindsey Sharples

A divorced husband has obtained leave to challenge the validity of his former mother-in-law’s will, on grounds that it was forged to defeat a divorce settlement under which he would receive a share of her estate.

Colin and Hilary Randall were divorced in 2006. The consent order that finalised their divorce contained an undertaking by Hilary Randall concerning her expectation of an inheritance from her mother. It was agreed that Hilary Randall would keep anything she received from her mother’s estate up to £100,000 but anything over and above that would be split between her and her former husband 50:50.

When Mrs Randall died her will left exactly £100,000 to Hilary Randall and the balance of about £150,000 to Hilary Randall’s children.

Colin Randall launched proceedings alleging that the will was not duly executed in accordance with the provisions of s9 Wills Act 1837.

The High Court initially ruled that Colin Randall did not have standing to challenge the will because he did not have a sufficient interest in the will. However, the Appeal Court has now allowed his appeal and Mr Randall now has to make his substantive case that the will was not properly executed and is invalid.

Lindsey Sharples is a solicitor in the private client team at Barker Gotelee, Solicitors in Ipswich.

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