We came across this story in the Birmingham Post a few days ago and, due to its landmark status as an inheritance case, thought we'd share with you some of the details. The case involved the partner of Ms Elizabeth Walker – a noted ecologist – fighting a legal challenge presented by her daughters regarding what he had inherited in her will.
Mr Michael Badmin was 23 years younger than Ms Walker but they had been together since 2005, with Ms Walker sadly passing away in 2010 from cancer after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in 2009. The argument presented by Ms Walker's daughters – Alison Walker and Jennifer Rowan – was that Ms Walker was in a 'delusional' and 'irrational' state when she wrote the will and Mr Badmin should therefore have not inherited a large proportion of her estate.
The case made its way to the High Court after Mr Robert Weston, the head of the contentious probate team at mfg Solicitors, had been working on the case for four years. The final ruling stated that whilst Ms Walker was suffering from decreased mental capacity toward the end of her life, she still had accurate "testamentary capacity."
It is believed that this case will prove to be highly influential in future familial inheritance arguments "where family members try to suggest that any changes to a will made while someone is terminally ill may not be valid on grounds of mental capacity."
The outcome of the case, Mr Weston suggests, has allowed them to prove that "Ms Walker knew precisely what she was doing, despite her illness, when she made her decision to leave most of her fortune to Mr Badmin."
Do you think the case deserves the status it has been awarded as a legal authority for mental capacity when making a will?