The Central London County Court has set aside a will after finding it had been completed when a now-deceased individual was under undue influence from the defendant.

Robert Harrington, then aged 93, married his carer, Guixiang Qin. After this, a new will was drawn up leaving Mr Harrington's estate to his new wife and excluding his daughter, Jill Langley. Ms Langley contested the will arguing a lack of testamentary capacity, lack of knowledge and approval, and undue influence.

  • The court was presented with medical evidence regarding the deceased's paranoid delusional disorder. This influenced his fixed false beliefs including the estrangement from his daughter and he fabricated allegations against her.
  • The court was also sceptical about Mr Harrington's comprehension of the will's content. It was also concerned about the lack of oral evidence from the solicitors who drafted the document.
  • They highlighted the defendant Qin's all-pervasive influence over the deceased's financial affairs which included her finding a compliant solicitor firm to draft the will.
  • The court discovered financial irregularities. Qin had withdrawn more than £230,000 both before and after Mr Harrington's death and had made no declaration to HMRC as required for lifetime transfers during Probate.

The court awarded costs against Qin but couldn't annul the marriage posthumously. Under Intestacy laws, Qin stood to inherit a fixed net sum of £270,000 plus half of the deceased's remaining estate.

The case is notable for being one of the first to follow the precedent set by the Court of Appeal's decision in Rea v Rea [2024] EWCA Civ 169.

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