An unusual storyline has hit the cobbles recently in respect of Aiden Connor’s recent depression and suicide. For those of you who are not familiar, here is some background:
- Aiden’s Last Will and Testament was found, dated January 2018 in which he left his share of his underwear business, Underworld to his business partner, Alya Nazir.
- Alya had helped Aiden rebuild the business following bankruptcy.
- At the time of writing his Will, Aiden owned 18% of Underworld however on date of death (June 2018), he was the sole owner of Underworld; the remaining share having been gifted to him by his sister, Carla Connor .
- As a result, Alya received 100% of Underworld and is now the sole owner of the business.
Upon discovering the Will, Aiden’s family sought legal advice which confirmed that although the Will appears valid, it could be challenged on the basis that Aiden was not of sound mind and lacked capacity at the time of making his Will, based upon his depression and subsequent suicide.
The storyline continues however some questions which the family may have are as follows:
Is the Will valid?
As long as the following requirements are met, a Will is valid if :
The Testator has the necessary mental capacity to make a Will and was not unduly influenced;
- The Will was signed by the Testator and witnessed by two independent witnesses who were both in the presence of the Testator at the time he signed the Will.
- The Testator has the necessary mental capacity, knew and approved the contents and was not unduly influenced or under duress;
If so, the Estate may be administered by the named Executor/s in the Will and in accordance with the instructions written in the Will.
In this case, Aiden’s Will appears to be valid. If the Will was found to be invalid, then the provisions of the Will would not apply and instead, Aiden’s Estate would be distributed in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy. In this case, Aiden has a daughter Susie therefore she would be entitled to all of Aiden’s Estate.
With a valid Will Alya receives 100% , but would Susie receive anything?
As a child of the family who was not left reasonable providion from her father’s Estate, Susie would have a potential claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. As a minor child who requires significant financial support, she is likely to have strong claim.
There was some discussion of Toyah and Peter formally adopting Susie. If so, then Aiden’s parental responsibility over Susie would have ended and therefore she would not have any claim against his Estate. Susie’s right to claim against the Estate should be brought 6 months from the date of the Grant of Probate.
Can other parties claim?
Carla Connor: Carla could bring a claim for a share in the business given her previous successful history at Underworld combined with the financial investment made however if the money she gave Aiden was deemed to be a ‘gift’, her claim is unlikely to succeed (despite the increase in Aiden’s share).
Alya Nazir: As the sole beneficiary of Aiden’s Estate, Alya could defend any claims brought against Aiden’s Estate by the above parties however there are likely to be costs consequences.
How else can a Will be disputed?
A Will can also be disputed on the following grounds with or without involving the Court process:
- The Testator made the Will under undue influence
- The Will was made as a result of fraud/forgery
- The Will has not been executed in accordance with legal requirements (as discussed above)
- The Testator did not know or approve the contents of his Will
Should you find yourself in a similar situation then please contact one of our specialist team for a no obligation discussion, by calling 0114 218 4000 or emailing email@example.com.