Mr Ryan’s children contested the 2013 Will, claiming that by the time that Will was made, their father lacked testamentary capacity due to vascular dementia, which caused lapses in his memory, mild delusions and downturn in capacity generally.
The solicitor acting for Mr Ryan made contemporaneous and detailed file notes when signing the 2013 Will which strongly suggested Mr Ryan had testamentary capacity at the time of instructions – he was able to have a normal conversation, knew the names of all of his children, knew the role of the executor and what how he was intending to distribute his assets.
A letter from Mr Ryan’s GP supported the claim that he had the capacity to make a Will in 2013.
The case manager of Mr Ryan’s nursing home witnessed the will being signed and did not raise any concerns when signing the 2013 Will.
Despite all of the above, the judge held that the 2013 Will was invalid, meaning Probate was granted on the 2011 Will, which divided the estate equally between Mr Ryan’s children.