The High Court came to the aid of a woman whose mother harboured false and delusional beliefs that she was a shopaholic who had stolen from her.

In two wills made before her death, aged 76, the mother bequeathed almost all her estate, which was worth about £350,000, to her son. Her daughter was left only a few personal possessions. The daughter later launched proceedings, seeking declarations that neither will was valid.

In ruling on the matter, the Court found that the mother had been gravely affected by a complex grief reaction and persistent depression following another of her children’s early death from cancer. She was prey to unfounded and irrational convictions that her daughter was, amongst other things, a spendthrift and a thief. Due to her delusions, the mother’s mind was poisoned against her daughter.

Granting the declarations sought, the Court found that the daughter bore no blame for her estrangement from her mother, who lacked the mental capacity required to make either will. The decision meant that the mother died intestate and her estate would be divided equally between her next of kin.

For help on wills, trusts and probate matters contact Tracy Creed

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