Legal News October 2016 – Undue Influence

Edkins v Hopkins [2016] EWHC 2542 (Ch) 

Short Note: Contesting influence 

39 Essex Chambers November 18 2016

A recent case (Edkins v Hopkins [2016] EWHC 2542 (Ch), a decision of HHJ Jarman QC sitting as a judge of the High Court) illustrates just how hard it is to get a will overturned on the basis of undue influence. The deceased was a vulnerable, ill alcoholic who had just discharged himself from hospital against medical advice. He made a will, crucially as it turns out, via an independent, experienced solicitor that left the bulk of his estate to a friend who, as the judge found, was in a position to exercise control and influence. 

The judge was not, however, prepared to take the final step to holding that there had been undue influence even though it was not a far jump from his findings that the friend had a significant degree of control over the deceased and that the friend had suggested that the deceased make a new will and arranged for the solicitor to attend.