RSPCA Will Woman Wins Court Battle

Will Dispute

09.10.2009

A woman whose parents left their £2 million North Yorkshire farm to the RSPCA has successfully contested their will.

When her mother died in 2006, Christine Gill, 58, from Northallerton, discovered her parents had left the farm to the animal charity, which she believed her father had persuaded her mother to do.

She launched her legal battle in July last year, arguing that she had been given reassurances that she was to inherit Potto Carr farm.

For the past three decades she had spent her spare time keeping the farm running, she told a High Court hearing in Leeds.

When her father died in 1992, Dr Gill, a university lecturer and only child, had been left to look after the farm and her mother, who suffered from agoraphobia and had been dependent on her husband.

Judge James Allen QC ruled that it would be "unconscionable" for Dr Gill not to inherit the farm because Mrs Gill had been "coerced" into making the will, when her true wish was for her daughter to have the farm.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Her Majesty's Court Service

Adam Draper, a lawyer in Irwin Mitchell’s Will Disputes Team said "Wills can be challenged in a number of circumstances. The court will find that a will is invalid if the person who made the will (i) did not have capacity (ii) was subject to undue influence (iii) did not understand the nature of the document they signed.

"Wills can also be overturned in circumstances in which the will is valid but does not make ‘reasonable financial provision’ for certain categories of people (including spouses/civil partners, ex spouses, partners, children and dependants). Promises made by the deceased during their lifetime which have been relied upon can also overturn the terms of a will."