(Chancery Division; 18-20 May, 8 June, 15 June 2005; HHJ Norris QC)
An elderly lady made a will in 1999 and made gifts to the Claimant, her carer, in 1999 and 2001. There were issues concerning capacity and undue influence in respect of the 1999 will and the gifts. The key factual allegation was that from 1994 the elderly lady suffered from senile dementia. The Defendants were the beneficiaries under a previous will made by the elderly lady in 1990. The judge provided a useful summary of the principles that informed his approach to the issues of capacity, knowledge and approval and undue influence. The judge upheld the 1999 gift and admitted the 1999 will to probate. The 2001 gift was set aside on the basis the elderly lady probably did not have capacity at that time and the doctrine of presumed undue influence was engaged.