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Knowledge is power

Are clients who lack capacity becoming increasingly more vulnerable when it comes to estate planning? Matthew Evans asks

6 June 2013

It is not often that cases of knowledge and approval of wills come before the courts. But a few have been heard this year already.

In Hawes v Burgess [2013] EWCA Civ 74, the Court of Appeal upheld a first instance decision against the will's validity. Many commentators suggested that, in making a finding of fact that daughter Julia had been the 'controlling force', the court was essentially saying that the deceased had been the subject of 'undue influence'; traditionally a more difficult ground on which to challenge a will.

Following that decision, in March, a will was declared invalid on the basis that the testator lacked knowledge and approval of the will in an unreported case. In Tociapski v

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