Maudlin Bascoe's daughter, Patricia Johnson, sought to challenge the validity of her late mother's 2005 Will, within which she was left £100 only. The High Court found against Patricia and upheld the 2005 Will.

Maudlin died aged 96 in 2015. She had four children and eight grandchildren. Maudlin's daughter, Patricia, claimed that her brother Barnaby, had procured the 2005 Will by undue influence and forgery. Barnaby was also one of the appointed executors under Maudlin's 2005 Will. Patricia further claimed that their mother lacked both testamentary capacity and knowledge and approval.

It was accepted that prior to 2005, Maudlin had changed her mind several times, as to the amounts to leave each of her children; especially her daughters Patricia and Beverley. Whilst there were no solicitor's attendance note records available to explain why Maudlin had decided to reduce Patricia's legacy to £100 and Beverley's legacy to £50, an explanatory note to the Will (drafted in 2003), did offer an explanation. The note stated:

"both my daughters have shown very little care and concern for me in my later years and in particular they have both been rude, unpleasant and in some instances physically violent and abusive towards me and have verbally expressed their lack of care and concern... I therefore have no desire that they should benefit from my estate over and beyond the legacies I have made in this will."

Maudlin's medical records did not support a challenge based upon lack of testamentary capacity. Further, Maudlin's solicitor gave evidence that in his opinion Maudlin had capacity and gave her instructions free of influence. He had also read out the Will to her before she executed the same.

The High court granted probate of the 2005 Will, dismissing all grounds that Patricia sought to rely upon. The Judge concluded by noting that Patricia had come "nowhere near" to establishing the basis for any proper challenge, noting the lack of documentary evidence produced in support of her claim, or evidence from independent third parties.

Case Citation: Barnaby v Johnson [2019] EWHC 3344 Ch

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