Questions? Feedback? powered by Olark live chat software

Court Decides Next of Kin Inherit After Declaring Will Invalid

A High Court judge has ruled that the will of an 80-year-old woman, which left her inheritance to her closest friends, is invalid after concluding that she was mentally unstable when conveying her final wishes, the Daily Mail reported.

Iris Jolly, the head of a large family from Canning Town, East London, died in October 2010, about two months after making her first will. The woman, who had lost her husband three years earlier, apparently decided to bequeath nothing to her family as she was dissatisfied with her relatives' aversion to taking care of her in her final years. Instead, she left everything to her friends, Richard Phythian and his wife Pamela. Among the assets Mrs Jolly wanted the couple to inherit was her £500,000 house in Kent. The Phythians believed that Mrs Jolly was right to share everything she owned with them as they had been supportive after the death of her husband.

Mark Blackett-Ord, the barrister of Mrs Jolly's family, said conversely that her relatives treated her as a "princess" and she was always put first. In Blackett-Ord's opinion, the woman was in a "catastrophic mental decline" after the death of both her husband and her twin brother in June 2010. According to Mrs Jolly's niece, her aunt did not have the legal capacity to draw up a will and in fact the family was around until her death.

The will was declared invalid by Judge Vivien Rose, who concluded that the woman was not in her right mind when signing it due to the grief of losing her brother and her husband, as well as her fragile mental state due to age and physical weakness. As a result, the Phythians were stripped of the inheritance and Mrs Jolly was ruled to have died intestate.

Mrs Jolly's inheritance will be now passed to her next of kin.

If you would like advice on dealing with an intestate estate, please contact our Client Services Team on 0300 303 9000 and we will do our best to help.