The English High Court, in the case of Greaves v Stolkin, upheld
a disputed professionally drafted Codicil.
In this case, the late Mr Stolkin left a Will dated 3 December 2001 by which his entire estate was gifted to his son Gary, and failing that to his son Mark.
Shortly before his death, Mr Stolkin's lawyer attended upon him in hospital to execute a Codicil. The Codicil provided certain gifts to his partner, Mrs Greaves.
Mr Stolkin's son Gary disputed the Codicil on two grounds. The first ground that his father lacked testamentary capacity and the second, want of knowledge of approval of the Codicil's terms.
The Court held that the Codicil was valid. In considering the evidence available, the attendance note, prepared by the lawyer, assisted the Court reaching the conclusion that the late Mr Stolkin did have testamentary capacity and understood and approved the document which he signed.
The judge noted that the Court should be reluctant to allow mental capacity or want of knowledge and approval to be used as the basis for challenging a Will which has been drafted by an experienced and independent lawyer, and is a further reminder of the benefits of obtaining professional advice.
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