Will contest: Neighbors take control of millions?
Interesting article regarding a will contest in Australia. An elderly woman worth about $15 and no close relatives had an old will leaving her estate to animal charities. Some neighbors apparently decided to "take care of" the elderly woman and have her make a new will which gave them the money. Not surprisingly, the charities contested the later will, providing classic evidence of lack of testamentary capacity and the exercising of undue influence:
Justice Peter Vickery also heard that when a relative arrived to live with and care for an ailing Ms Dyke, she found five of the neighbours in the elderly lady's house. Dianne Dyke, of Phillip Island, said that there were a group of "very stern" people in her cousin's kitchen, and she identified them as neighbours who later received millions in the will. "It was a strange feeling. It made me feel very uncomfortable," Mrs Dyke said. The plaintiffs, who are contesting Betty Dyke's will, have alleged that the neighbours tried to isolate her after they were made her major beneficiaries. Another witness, Shirley Huyton, said she'd bought eggs from Ms Dyke for decades, but noticed that from the late 1980s her mental powers deteriorated. Mrs Huyton, of Mornington, said that on being given money, Ms Dyke would "have a few goes" at trying to calculate the cost of the trays and how much change she should give. "Betty was not mentally or physically well for a number of years prior to her death," she said.