Testamentary Capacity in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Fuller v Strum
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 07 Diciembre 2001

    What is involved is simply the satisfaction of the test of knowledge and approval, but the court insists that, given that suspicion, it must be the more clearly shown that the deceased knew and approved the contents of the will so that the suspicion is dispelled. But in a case where the circumstances are such as to arouse the suspicion of the court the propounder must prove affirmatively that knowledge and approval so as to satisfy the court that the will represents the wishes of the deceased.

  • Key and Another v Key and Others
    • Chancery Division
    • 05 Marzo 2010

    Without in any way detracting from the continuing authority of Banks v. Goodfellow, it must be recognised that psychiatric medicine has come a long way since 1870 in recognising an ever widening range of circumstances now regarded as sufficient at least to give rise to a risk of mental disorder, sufficient to deprive a patient of the power of rational decision making, quite distinctly from old age and infirmity.

    The burden of proof in relation to testamentary capacity is subject to the following rules:

  • Leigh Helen Cowderoy v Lionel Steve Cranfield
    • Chancery Division
    • 24 Junio 2011

    Traditionally, the courts have adopted a two stage approach to the evidence in a case where knowledge and approval is in issue. The first stage was to ask whether the circumstances were such as to "excite suspicion" on the part of the court. If so, the burden was on the propounder of the will to establish that the testator knew and approved the contents of the will.

  • Simon v Byford and Others
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 13 Marzo 2014

    But it is important to bear in mind that it is knowledge and approval of the actual will that count: not knowledge and approval of other potential dispositions. That is why knowledge and approval can be found even in a case in which the testator lacks testamentary capacity at the date when the will is executed. It is a holistic exercise based on the evaluation of all the evidence both factual and expert.

  • Hoff and Others v Atherton
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 19 Noviembre 2004

    But if testamentary capacity – the ability to understand what is being done and its effect – is established, then it is open to the court to infer that a testator who does know what is written in the document which he signs does, in fact, understand what he is doing. And, where there is nothing to excite suspicion, the court may infer (without more) that a testator who signs a document as his will does know its contents.

    If the court is to be satisfied that the testator did know and approve the contents of his will – that is to say, that he did understand what he was doing and its effect—it may require evidence that the effect of the document was explained, that the testator did know the extent of his property and that he did comprehend and appreciate the claims on his bounty to which he ought to give effect.

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Legislation
  • Trusts (Scotland) Act 1961
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1961
    ......only where the testator was living and of testamentary capacity. after the end of one year from that date. (6) In this section ......
  • Administration of Estates Act 1925
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1925
    ......on his death, and notwithstanding any testamentary disposition. thereof, devolve from time to time on the personal. ...share or interest, and no person of full. age and capacity entitled to the income. thereof, no consent shall be required to an. ......
  • Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1991
    ......and circumstances, and. . . (b) on terms which are not unreasonable. . (2) A person of or over the age of 12 years shall have. testamentary capacity, including legal capacity to exercise by. testamentary writing any power of appointment. . (3) A person of or over the age of 12 years ......
  • Mental Capacity Act 2005
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 2005
    ...... . (ii) the condition in sub-paragraph (5) is met. . (5) The condition is that, under the law of P's domicile, any. question of his testamentary capacity would fall to be determined in. accordance with the law of a place outside England and Wales. Vesting orders ancillary to settlement etc. ......
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Books & Journal Articles
  • The Rise of Statutory Wills and the Limits of Best Interests Decision‐Making in Inheritance
    • Núm. 78-6, Noviembre 2015
    • The Modern Law Review
    This article addresses ‘statutory wills’ executed under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) for persons with impaired mental capacity. The article provides an overview of the historical development ...
    ...... article addresses ‘statutory wills’ executed under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) for persons with impaired mental capacity. The article ..., where there is no ‘forced heirship’, 2 the ‘myth’ of testamentary freedom 3 persists in spite of statutory provision for family dependants. ......
  • Psychological Autopsies: Legal Applications and Admissibility
    • Núm. 5-1, Enero 2001
    • International Journal of Evidence & Proof, The
    ...... range of circum- stances including, for example, the testamentary capacity of a non-suicidal deceased. A more comprehensive ......
  • Freedom of Testation: The Inheritance (Family Provision) Bill
    • Núm. 1-4, Marzo 1938
    • The Modern Law Review
    ...... others, have examined the social effects of limited testamentary power as compared with complete freedom. It should be noted ..., say, of undue influence or lack of testamentary capacity, and there does not seem to be any logical reason for ......
  • Report of the Committee on the Age of Majority
    • Núm. 31-4, Julio 1968
    • The Modern Law Review
    ...... their work, namely, the age at which full legal capacity and responsibility should begin. Even if the Committee’s ..., the enforce- ability of infants’ contracts, testamentary capacity and subsidiary topics where the law makes a distinction ......
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