The father had given his house to a granddaughter. He had declared his intentions and then made a will dividing his remaining estate. The beneficiary’s husband was a former solicitor who had given him occasional advice, including this gift. He had told the beneficiary about this advice but nobody else. After the donor’s death, the granddaughter and her husband were accused of exercising undue influence.
Held: The challenge failed. Whether there had been undue influence was a question of fact in each case. The legal burden of proof lay on the person alleging it. The grandson had first to establish that the father had placed trust and confidence in the granddaughter and her husband in relation to his financial affairs. That would discharge the evidential burden, and call for an explanation. Though it was not clear why he had taken this step, the gift was not so extraordinary as to challenge the explanation given. The relation with the granddaughter’s husband was not in this case sufficient to presume undue influence. He had asked for information not advice. The gift stood.
 WTLR 961,  EWHC 1684 (Ch)
England and Wales
Updated: 10 May 2022; Ref: scu.234721