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Lorraine Studholm Feltham v Freer Bouskell

Heather Viljoen reviews recent case law about professional negligence in will writing

19 September 2013

In this case, the court considered a negligence claim under the principle in White v Jones [1995] about failing to prepare a will for a 90-year-old testator.

On 24 January 2006, the claimant instructed the defendant firm of solicitors to prepare a new will for her step-grandmother, Ms Charlton, to replace one made in 1998. Charlton was then living in a nursing home and it was suggested that she might have dementia.

Under the new will, the claimant would benefit significantly. The solicitor acting instructed a doctor to assess Charlton's testamentary capacity, but received the report only a month after the GP's visit. The solicitor did not chase up the report, write to or discuss the new will with Charlton, despite speaking to her many times in the interim.

By March 2006, a new will had still not been prepared for Charlton, and she asked the claimant to prepare one. This was signed and witnessed shortly before her death on 1 Apri...

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