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, was rational and string and clear in his views. To establisch capacity, ‘the testator must comprehend, namely (a) the nature of the act and its effects, (b) the extent of the property of which he is disposing and (c) the claims to which he ought to give effect. ‘ The testator gave every appearance of capacity, and of having understood his will. Though the circumstances excited a suspicion of undue influence it was for those proposing the finding to establish it, and they had not done so: ‘the cases show, however, influence or persuasion of their own do not constitute undue influence.’

Girvan J
[2003] NIFam 3, GIRF3864
CitedBanks v Goodfellow QBD 6-Jul-1870
Test for Capacity to Execute Will
The testator suffered from delusions, but not so badly or in such a way as was found to affect his capacity or to influence his testamentary disposition. The judge had given the following direction: ‘The question is whether . . the testator was . .
CitedBoyse v Rossborough HL 1857
In order to set aside the will of a person of sound mind, it is not sufficient to show that the circumstances attending its execution are consistent with hypothesis of its having been obtained by undue influence. It must be shown that they are . .
CitedBarry v Butlin PC 8-Dec-1838
The testator, who had one son, bequeathed legacies to Percy, his attorney, one Butlin, to whom he also bequeathed the residue of his estate, and Whitehead, his butler. The will was upheld by the judge in the Prerogative Court and the son appealed. . .
CitedVaughan v Mark of Headfort 1840
Eccentricity or irrationality are not enough to deprive someone of the freedom ot capacity to make a valid will. ‘Every testator is free to adopt his own nonsense’ . .
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 . .
CitedRe Beech 1923
Provided the words of a will have been read and accepted by a testator, they take effect even if the legal effect was not understood: ‘The contention is that if a will does not have the effect intended the testator cannot be said to have known and . .
CitedWintle v Nye HL 1959
Mrs Wells, the testatrix, was an elderly lady living on her own. She neither had business experience nor the benefit of independent professional advice. She made a complex will and a codicil prepared by Mr Nye, a solicitor. He was not a close friend . .
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 . .
CitedBaudains v Richardson PC 1906
The Board considered the quality of the influence necessary to establish undue influence: ‘Influence may be degrading and pernicious and yet not undue influence in the eyes of the law’ . .
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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Northern Ireland

Updated: 16 January 2022; Ref: scu.180255