Victims of sexual abuse fail to overturn their mother’s will
Published: 22 December 2017
2 sisters who were cut out of their mother’s Will after making allegations that they were sexually abused by their father have failed in their claim to inherit some of her Estate.
The mother and her late husband had 11 children. The 2 sisters
and their brother became estranged from the rest of the family following an
argument. They then informed the police that they had been sexually abused by
their father when they were younger.
The father pleaded guilty to one charge of indecent assault
and one of incest. The Crown Prosecution Service did not pursue claims made by
When the mother made a Will in 1992, at the age of 57, she
excluded the 3 estranged siblings and divided her estate between her other
The brother and 2 sisters challenged the Will saying that their
mother had been unduly influence by their father at the time and lacked
testamentary capacity - that is, she didn’t fully understand what she was
The Court ruled against them. It said their case was that
their mother had made a serious mistake in that she believed in her husband's
innocence, and that was enough to remove her testamentary capacity.
However, the evidence indicated that the mother was not
labouring under any significant mistake as to her husband's guilt.
Nor did she make her Will under the undue influence of her
husband. The evidence showed that she was the dominant partner in the marriage,
telling her husband what to do, not the other way around.
The Will should therefore stand.
Please contact Claire Trueman or Rosalind Burton in our
Private Client Team if you would like more information about the issues raised
in this article or any aspect of Wills and Probate.