An 80 year old man has lost his High Court application to have his deceased sister’s Will changed on the grounds that she was not mentally capable, was extremely easily led and had been badly advised.
The High Court was told that the deceased lady left a substantial estate. The deceased and her husband had a substantial farm in Tipperary which she sold at the height of the boom in 2005 following the death of her husband. The High Court was told that the majority of the proceeds of the sale of the farm were kept in bank accounts and missed the main effects of the financial crisis.
The court heard that the deceased left money to charities ranging from sums of €100 to €1,000 to €10,000 and up to €50,000 to various charities for the poor, the deaf and the blind, and to hospices, the Samaritans and even the Helicopter Rescue Service. She also left comparatively small amounts to religious brothers, sisters, priests and missionaries and money towards the upkeep of churches.
She left €45,000 each to her brothers, Joseph and David, the latter of whom she was living with at her death in November 2005 at age 87. David was not contesting the will. Counsel for the executor of the Will told the court that after up to 100 bequests, the estate had been left with just under €2.8 million which was to be distributed among charities as her executor, a distant cousin, was to decide.
The solicitor for the deceased told the court that she had drawn up her own Will and he had advised her on certain matters. She had originally left only €30,000 to each of her brothers and on his advice she had increased these bequests to €45,000 each, a tax ceiling beneficial to both of them. He told the court that she was in good form at the time of making her Will and in his opinion, perfectly capable of making her Will. A doctor also gave evidence that she had never at any time shown symptoms of suffering any mental deficit.
The Judge of the High Court, Mr. Justice Kearns ruled that the challenge to the Will could not possibly succeed. Justice Kearns said he was satisfied that the deceased woman was of sound mind when she had signed her Will, which was done in front of three witnesses and Justice Kearns said her wishes in her Will should be carried out.
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