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 kindred, to a sentiment of gratitude for past services, or pity for future destitution, or the like – these are all legitimate, and may be fairly pressed on a testator. On the other hand, pressure of whatever character, whether acting on the fears or the hopes, if so exerted as to overpower the volition without convincing the judgement, is a species of restraint under which no valid will can be made. Importunity or threats, such as the testator has not the courage to resist, moral command asserted and yielded to for the sake of peace and quiet, or of escaping distress of mind or social discomfort, these, if carried to a degree in which the freeplay of the testator’s judgment, discretion or wishes is overborne will constitute undue influence, though no force is either used or threatened. In a word a testator may be led but not driven and his will must be the off-spring of his own volition and not the record of someone else’s’.
Sir JP Wilde
 LR 1 P and D 481
England and Wales
Cited – Killick v Pountney and Another; Re Killick Deceased ChD 31-Mar-1999
Mr Killick’s will was challenged on the basis that it had been executed under undue influence, and that he had suffered dementia. The deceased’s nephew alleged that the beneficiaries had used their position to influence him to make the will in their . .
Cited – Thompson and others v Thompson and others FdNI 16-Feb-2003
The family sought to challenge the validity of the will, saying the testator lacked capacity, and that he had made the will under the undue influence of the beneficiaries.
Held: There was clear evidence that the testator, whilst changeable, . .
Cited – Potter v Potter FdNI 5-Feb-2003
The testator’s capacity to make his will was challenged. He had lived alone without electricity, but his doctor said he was known to him and was ‘with it’. Evidence from a member of staff at the solicitor’s office supported the doctor’s description. . .
Cited – In re Good, deceased; Carapeto v Good and Others ChD 19-Apr-2002
The normal rules as to costs contained in the CPR should also be followed in probate actions save only that the judge should also take account of the guidance in the Spiers case, where an alternative costs order might be made if the testator or . .
Cited – Ark and Others v Kaur and Others ChD 17-Sep-2010
The proponents sought to have the will (executed in India) admitted to probate. The daughters denied that he had executed it. The court heard detailed explanations of the procedures said to have been undertaken for the making and execution of the . .
Cited – 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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 27 October 2021; Ref: scu.188023