In this document, we discuss the case of Carr v Beavan. The case was dealt with in the High Court of Justice Chancery Division on 29th October 2008. The judgment was carried out by Mr Justice Floyd. The court had to focus on the testator mental capacity at the relevant time of making his will, because a man diminished in physical and even mental strength may nevertheless make a valid will, provided that he was in possession of his full capacity at the precise time of the writing of the will. Therefore, in our present case we have to focus on John Watson's mental state at the time of the wiring of the will in March 2000, and also at the time of November 2000 in order to determine if he lacked testamentary capacity.
[...] The two parties opposed in the case are: the Claimants composed of the executors of John Watson's will by virtue of the will on 17th November 2000 and Margaret Watson, the widow of the latter, also being his second wife and the Defendants are the four children of John Watson by his first marriage Catherine, Marilyn, Richard and Janet. The best way to deal with the case is to assess it chronologically. On 5th January 1998, John Watson executed a will. The will made specifics bequests of each to Marilyn, Catherine and Richard and released a debt of owned by Janet and her husband. [...]
[...] Mr Watson thus came to see Dr Chapman. He conducted tests on the testator which resulted in him thinking that Mr Watson lacked testamentary capacity to sign a will on 14th March 2000. There are no medical reports attesting this medical opinion, and the only tangible proofs are contrasting recollections from Mr Harvey's phone conversation with Dr Chapman, and Mrs Watson's recollection of her husband's interview with the doctor. In summary, the medical practitioner diagnosed mild dementia and strongly advised that Mr Watson go see a psychiatrist, but that was never done, as to conclusion that the question mark on Mr Watson testamentary capacity in March 2000 was still present. [...]
[...] With all those elements from the courts, Mr Justice Floyd had to make a decision as to whether the November will was valid. His approach is very logical, as he gives his opinion about each subject matter of the case and concludes in a judgement. Mr Justice Floyd rejected the submission that the exclusion of his children from his will was irrational. He is satisfied that John Watson “knew the extent of his property that he was disposing under his will” and that the latter did not wish to include the gifts to his children. [...]
[...] In March 2000, Mr Watson executed another will, prepared by John Harvey. In the will, he removed the gifts to his children, and later on named Margot his present wife as en executor. John Watson also wished that the lease to David Smith and Lisa was to be effective only during his own life-time. In November 2000, Mr Watson decided to name another solicitor, Ms Webb because he was not satisfied with Mr Harvey's job and removed him as an executor. [...]
[...] Thus, the court's task is more than to state on the mental state of the testator. The testator mental state as to be assessed as to determine Whether he had a specific capacity And whether he possessed that capacity at the specific time at which he made his will. The court has to focus on the testator mental capacity at the relevant time of making his will, because a man diminished in physical and even mental strength may nevertheless make a valid will, provided that he was in possession of his full capacity at the precise time of the writing of the will. [...]
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