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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
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Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My 85 year old aunt has been befriended by a neighbour for

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My 85 year old aunt has been befriended by a neighbour for the past 6 years or so. He has taken her to a solicitor to do her will. She is quite well off and owns her own house. He is a bankrupt and asked her to put his son and sister as her executors. Then he is to inherite everything. She has estranged grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her estate will probably amount to nearly £500,000 pounds. Is there anyway to stop this? He does do a fair bit for her, such as popping in every day and getting her newspaper etc. I do believe he is entitled to something but not all of it. I have spoken to her about it but she says as she sees him all the time he should have it all. I told her l dont agree.

Is your aunt of full mental capacity?do you think she’s been pressured into doing this or is she doing it of her own free will?

Do you know that she has already done this? How’d you know? Did she tell you?

Does she have any children?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My Aunt is a bit forgetful but is ok mentally, I think i think there is a bit of pressure there, but she wants to do this even tho she does have family. She had one son who died a lot of years ago and had 2 grandsons and as far as I know one of them has two children. She is adamant she doesn't want anything to go to them. I don't agree and have told her so and said I believe this person should be left something for all his help to her but definitely not everything. I am not sure wether anything can be done legally . If she does leave everything to this person can her grandchildren contest her will and win? I live in australia and come over every year to see her and keep in touch by phone as well. She has also been over to spend some time with us as well. I would like her to come permanently but I dont think she will. We are worried in case something does happen to her and she does not die and becomes incapacitated.

Under the Inheritance Provision for Family and Dependents Act, it is possible for a spouse, child, anyone who is been treated as a child or anyone who is being maintained by the deceased to make an inheritance act claim to get money from the deceased’s estate.

Under section 1 of the Act it applies in respect of spouse or civil partner, a former spouse or former civil partner, a child, anyone not a child but treated as a child or anyone being maintained wholly or partly.

Under the provisions of the therefore, grandchildren have no claim to make.

They would therefore have to bring a claim on the basis of undue influence because, from what you have said, lack of mental capacity is certainly not on the cards.

There would be no legal aid for that and they would be faced with paying their own legal costs.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please rate the service positive. It’s an important part of the process by which experts get paid.

I can still clarify things for you.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is it likely if paying own costs for the grandchildren to win their case? Should l just leave it and let this person inherite everything. It really galls me to do that though.

I can understand that it really galls you but the grandmother seems to be adamant.

Perhaps it is understandable if the grandchildren have not been near her to support her for years and yet the neighbour has.

I’m going to be brutally honest with you and tell you but I don’t think the grandchildren have a good case for undue influence because the grandmother does seem to be very strong-minded. If she has done a letter of wishes explaining why she has done what she has done, then the chance of the grandchildren winning is remote.

If the grandchildren decide they don’t want to pursue this, and they lose, it could cost them tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your advice. I will take on board what you have said and will no longer pursue this as there does not seem to be any point if we cant win. I think it is terrible though that there is no recourse for this and someone who she has known for just a few years inherits all whereas no family do. Her grandchildren have contacted her lots of times and been to see her but her choice is not to see them at all anymore. She thinks everyone is after her money except the actual person that is after her money, on that point she is paranoid.