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Press comment: High court case reveals need for prudent IHT planning

11 September 2019

Today a son has lost a three year legal dispute with his siblings over their mother’s will. The son, Duncan Parsonage, said the mother’s latest will was written when she was suffering from dementia and so should be deemed invalid and her previous will, where he inherited more, should be used. The High Court judge ruled in favour of the siblings, saying that while the mother was suffering from dementia-like symptoms when the second will was drafted her dementia had not adversely affected her capacity to set out her final wishes.

If you’re covering the case please see the following comment from David Gibb, financial planner at Quilter: 

“Dementia is unfortunately a high possibility in the current day. And this is has huge implications for ensuring that your wealth is distributed as you’d like it to. Debates around inheritance have the potential to bring out the worst in people and destroy families. Figures shows that more and more people are taking to the courts to sort out these disputes, something which can cost more than the inheritance was worth in the first place.

“This case hinges on the fact that Beryl Parsonage updated her will at a time when she was beginning to show signs of dementia. When it comes to estate planning it’s important to update your will as soon as possible whenever there is a significant life event or circumstances change as you never know what is around the corner.

“Trusts are an invaluable tool for complex situations. A trust would be run by a number of trustees after your death, who would distribute funds in line with your wishes. However, they can also adapt to any change in circumstances instead of strictly adhering to the will.”

Kathleen Gallagher

External Communications Manager

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