Gill v Woodall and Others: ChD 5 Oct 2009

The claimant challenged her late mother’s will which had left the entire estate to a charity. She asserted lack of knowledge and approval and coercion, and also an estoppel. The will included a note explaining that no gift had been made because she had been provided for.
Held: The challenge to the will succeeded. The testatrix had suffered agorophobia, and on being taken to the solicitors to execute a will would have her will overborn by irrational fears. Given also the additional circumstances of her domineering husband and the oddity of the provisions of the will when compared to her views when expressed, the claimant had made out that her will had not been freely given.

Allen QC J
[2009] EWHC 834 (Ch)
England and Wales
CitedGuardhouse v Blackburn 1866
. .
CitedAtter v Atkinson 1869
. .
CitedHarter v Harter 1873
. .
CitedTyrrell v Painton CA 1894
The rule throwing upon the party propounding a will the burden of showing that it expresses the true will of the deceased is not confined to cases where the will is prepared by a person taking a benefit under it. After reference to Barry v Butlin . .
CitedIn the Estate of Fuld, decd (No 3) ChD 1967
The deceased had spent relatively equal periods in two or more countries. The parties disputed his domicile.
Held: A blind adherence to foreign law can not be always expected of an English Court. The legal relationship between a person and the . .
CitedIn re Morris Deceased ChD 1970
A mistake was made in the drafting of a codicil by which, inter alia, the testatrix had revoked cl 7 of her will. It was clear from the evidence that the testatrix had never intended to revoke the whole of that clause but only to revoke the . .
CitedFuller v Strum CA 7-Dec-2001
The appellant challenged a finding that only part of a will was valid. The part made a gift to his son, ‘albeit very grudgingly’, saying ‘I hate him like poison, that Irish bastard.’
Held: The onus on the propounder of a will to show that it . .
CitedRichards v Allan ChD 2001
The court found that the will at issue was prepared under suspicious circumstances which included the fact that the idea of the will was conceived and implemented in a period after a significant hospitalisation where the physical and mental . .
CitedFulton v Andrew HL 1875
The will was professionally drawn but through agency of the executors, specific legatees and residuary legatees. The Court of Probate directed the case to be tried at the assizes where the judge asked the opinion of the jury on a number of questions . .
CitedHoff and others v Atherton CA 19-Nov-2004
Appeals were made against pronouncements for the validity of a will and against the validity of an earlier will. The solicitor drawing the will was to receive a benefit, and had requested an independent solicitor to see the testatrix and ensure that . .
CitedBuckenham v Dickinson ChD 1992
The testator was very old, partially blind and deaf. A next door neighbour who had great advantage of long experience in old peoples’ homes, indicated that the testator was of such poor sight and hearing that he was virtually cut off from everything . .
CitedHall v Hall 1868
Even a reprehensible placing of pressure on a testator will not always be undue influence so as to avoid the will: ‘To make a good will a man must be a free agent. But all influences are not unlawful. Persuasion, appeals to the affection or ties of . .
CitedParfitt v Lawless 1872
When a court considers the preparation and execution of a will, there can be no presumption of undue influence. . .
CitedWingrove v Wingrove 19-Nov-1885
To establish the presence of undue influence it is not enough to establish that a person has the power to overbear the will of the testator. It must be shown that the will was a result of the exercise of that power
Sir James Hannen said: ‘To . .
CitedSidney Bolsom Investment Trust Ltd v E Karmios and Co (London) Ltd CA 1956
The tenants had intended to ask for a new tenancy of 14 years, but by mistake, the notice of request implied a new lease of seven years. The request nevertheless set out the duration of the proposed new tenancy. The tenants tried to bring in parol . .
CitedCrabb v Arun District Council CA 23-Jul-1975
The plaintiff was led to believe that he would acquire a right of access to his land. In reliance on that belief he sold off part of his land, leaving the remainder landlocked.
Held: His claim to have raised an equity was upheld. The plaintiff . .
CitedGreasley v Cooke 1980
For a proprietary estoppel to arise the plaintiff must have incurred expenditure or otherwise have prejudiced himself or acted to his detriment. However, once it has been established that promises were made, and that there has been conduct by the . .
CitedTaylors Fashions Ltd v Liverpool Victoria Trustees Co Ltd ChD 1981
The fundamental principle that equity is concerned to prevent unconscionable conduct permeates all the elements of the doctrine of estoppel. In the light of the more recent cases, the principle ‘requires a very much broader approach which is . .
CitedJT Developments v Quinn and Another CA 1990
The plaintiff told the defendant it was willing to grant a lease on the same terms as those contained in a new tenancy that the plaintiff had recently granted to the tenant of a nearby shop, also owned by the plaintiff. The defendant carried out . .
CitedGillett v Holt and Another CA 23-Mar-2000
Repeated Assurances Created Equitable Estoppel
Repeated assurances, given over years, that the claimant would acquire an interest in property on the death of the person giving the re-assurance, and upon which the claimant relied to his detriment, could found a claim of equitable estoppel. The . .
CitedJennings v Rice, Wilson, Marsh, Norris, Norris, and Reed CA 22-Feb-2002
The claimant asserted a proprietary estoppel against the respondents. He had worked for the deceased over many years, for little payment, and doing more and more for her. Though he still worked full time at first, he came to spend nights at the . .
CitedThorner v Major and others HL 25-Mar-2009
The deceased had made a will including a gift to the claimant, but had then revoked the will. The claimant asserted that an estoppel had been created in his favour over a farm, and that the defendant administrators of the promisor’s estate held it . .
CitedUglow v Uglow and others CA 27-Jul-2004
The deceased had in 1976 made a promise to the claimant. The promise was not honoured in the will, and the claimant asserted a proprietary estoppel.
Held: The judge was right to have found that the promise was bound up with the claimant being . .
CitedYeoman’s Row Management Ltd and Another v Cobbe HL 30-Jul-2008
The parties agreed in principle for the sale of land with potential development value. Considerable sums were spent, and permission achieved, but the owner then sought to renegotiate the deal.
Held: The appeal succeeded in part. The finding . .
CitedEdwards v Edwards and others ChD 3-May-2007
A son of the deceased alleged that his brother had used his undue influence over their mother to persuade her to change her will to exclude him from it.
Held: Lewison J set out the correct approach to an allegation of undue influence, saying: . .
CitedThorner v Major and others CA 2-Jul-2008
The deceased had written a will, revoked it but then not made another. The claimant had worked for the deceased understanding that property would be left to him, and now claimed that the estate property was held under a trust for him.
Held: . .
CitedEdwards v Edwards and others ChD 3-May-2007
Family members challenged the will saying that one son had exercised undue influence over the testatrix.
Held: The beneficiary son had poisoned his mother’s mind against the other family members. The will would be set aside for his undue . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromGill v Woodall and Others CA 14-Dec-2010
The court considered the authorities as to the capacity to make a will, and gave detailed guidance.
Held: As a matter of common sense and authority, the fact that a will has been properly executed, after being prepared by a solicitor and read . .
CitedWharton v Bancroft and Others ChD 8-Dec-2011
Mr Wharton anticipated his imminent death. He made a will leaving everything to his long time partner in anticipation of their marriage, married her and died a few days later. The will made no provision for his first wife or their now adult . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Wills and Probate, Undue Influence

Updated: 05 January 2022; Ref: scu.381738