Healys acts for claimants and defendants in these cases, giving us a detailed understanding of both sides in these often complex disputes. It also means that we understand that these cases can be very difficult for everyone involved – the problems come up when people are already suffering from the loss of a loved one. Although it is ultimately possible to go to court for many of the reasons outlined below, we always explore ways of settling cases as quickly as possible to avoid distress and cost at this difficult time.
To read more about how we have helped clients, please click on the case study links below.
In a case handled by Healys, our client was the executor and beneficiary of the Will of an elderly friend who had made a Will several years before his death leaving his entire estate to our client. A family member of the testator who had not been in touch with the testator for many years made allegations that the Will had not been executed properly and applied for a grant of letters of administration as if there was no Will.
He intended to take the whole estate himself as the sole surviving relative of the testator. The testator had overseen the execution himself so there was no solicitor who could give evidence. Despite the time that had passed since the will was executed, Healys traced both witnesses and obtained from them detailed evidence of the circumstances of the execution. When Healys presented that evidence to the family member’s solicitors, the claim to be entitled to the estate was withdrawn and our client obtained probate of the Will.
In a case handled by Healys, our client was executor of a will which left the majority of the estate of a family member to him. Another family member challenged the Will on the ground of want of knowledge and approval because he believed that the bequest to him was too small.
He raised several points in an effort to show suspicion as to the circumstances in which the Will was executed. This included that the Will was drawn up by different solicitors from the testator’s previous solicitors and that our client lived with the testator at the time and had arranged the meetings with the solicitor. Healys took evidence to show that the change of solicitor was for good reasons, and that although the meetings with the solicitor were arranged by our client he took no part in the meetings themselves. After the evidence had been produced, the claim settled with the claimant receiving only a slightly increased bequest.
Healys’ Ben Parr-Ferris acted for the successful defendant in the case of Glanville -v- Glanville  EWHC 1271 (Ch). Mr Glanville had a family by his first marriage. After his first wife died, he married the defendant Mrs Glanville and they lived together for some years. Unknown to his wife, Mr Glanville made a will leaving the property they lived in (but which belonged solely to Mr Glanville) to his family. Unknown to his family, Mr Glanville executed a deed of gift giving that property to himself and Mrs Glanville as joint tenants. When Mr Glanville died the joint tenancy meant that the house went to Mrs Glanville outside of the estate, and so the will had no effect. The family challenged the deed of gift alleging undue influence by Mrs Glanville. After trial, the judge concluded that there was no actual undue influence (i.e. no evidence of coercion).
There was a possibility that Mrs Glanville could have exercised dominance over Mr Glanville that meant there was a close relationship that satisfied the first limb of the test for a presumption of undue influence to arise. The claim failed under the second limb however because the deed of gift did not call for any explanation; it was an entirely natural transaction that could be explained easily in many other ways than by improper pressure from Mrs Glanville.
In a nutshell he made a very difficult situation bearable by answering any concerns I had along the way in a timely fashion. I would therefore not hesitate to use both Ben’s and the firm’s services again should the need arise.