The Court of Appeal has now handed down its judgment in a recent case in which the lower court held that a man’s will was valid because he had testamentary capacity (‘was of sound mind’) when he gave instructions for it to be drawn up, even though he had lost mental capacity by the time he signed it.
The case concerned an elderly man who had created a new will leaving his entire estate to his carer. In an earlier will, he had bequeathed everything to his son, who lodged the legal challenge. The son claimed the new will was executed without his father’s knowledge and approval because he lacked testamentary capacity.
Under English law, it is not necessary to prove the testator’s knowledge and approval of the contents of a will when it is signed if he or she correctly believed that it carried out their instructions. The Court of Appeal ruled that in this case the testator did believe that the will gave effect to his intentions and it was therefore valid.