On Mrs Simon’s 88th birthday, at the suggestion of her two children, Hilary and Jonathan, Mrs Simon’s executed a new Will.  Her other son, Robert, did not come to the party. The new Will reversed an earlier Will, which had given Robert preferential treatment, partly because he was managing the family business.

This birthday Will was later challenged by Robert, primarily on the basis of a lack of capacity.  In the case of Simon v Byford & Others [2013] EWHC 1490 (Ch), the Judge found that Mrs Simons did have mild to moderate dementia.  However, the Judge did not accept the opinion of Robert’s medical expert that she was incapable of making a Will.  This was despite the fact that she was incapable of remembering the terms of the previous Will or the reasoning behind it.

The Judge held that Mrs Simon was a delightful lady of great charm and a thoughtful character.  Despite her limited capability, he accepted that it was her wish at that time to treat her children equally.  As the Will did that, he allowed it to stand.

This case shows two things.  Firstly, that it is wrong to take a very expensive legal case solely on the basis of medical expert opinion.  Secondly, it is a mistake not to attend your mother’s birthday party!