John Melville-Smith considers "undue influence" in Wealth Briefing31 May 2019 // In the press
Partner John Melville-Smith explores a recent High Court dispute where the issue of "undue influence" arose in an inheritance case
What recourse do family members have when an elderly relative sells or gifts their worldly estate to a new acquaintance in quick succession, and when there is no question of lacking the necessary mental capacity? The law provides a secondary basis for challenge in situations such as these, known as undue influence.
Actual undue influence comprises overt acts of improper pressure or coercion, such as unlawful threats. Presumed undue influence arises out of a relationship between two persons where one has acquired a measure of influence, or trust and confidence, of which they then take unfair advantage by abusing the influence or trust they have acquired in their own interests.
Whether a transaction was brought about by the exercise of undue influence is a question for the court to determine on the evidence. This was the position in the High Court in Moursi vs Doherty, a case in which Seddons Partner John Melville-Smith was instructed.
To read the full article about the case, please click here (£)
In the words of Ambrose Bierce: "Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate."Read now