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FDR Law Legal Clinic - Fraudulent Calumny

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Legal advice from Stephen Lawson, Partner at FDR Law specialising in Will Disputes

Q:  What is meant by the phrase Fraudulent Calumny?

A: Fraudulent Calumny is not a phrase that is used by most people every day of the week.  It is a rather unusual description of the ground upon which a Will can be regarded as invalid.

Fraudulent Calumny arises where a person is said to have been poisoning the mind of a person who is making a Will either by telling that person various facts that are untrue – or telling those facts not caring whether they were true or false. 

A good illustration of this might be if a ‘friend’ tells someone who is thinking of making a Will – “don’t leave anything to your daughter, she just wants to see you put in a care home so she can get your money quicker”. 

If that statement was false and the person making the Will did indeed remove his daughter as a beneficiary then the Will could be set aside and have no validity – even if, in all other respects the Will would have been valid – for example if it was properly signed and witnessed and if the person making the Will had full testamentary capacity.

Many lawyers have dusted off their old text books recently to get up to date with fraudulent calumny, because there have been a couple of recent cases; Eric Arthur Boyles and Agni Lacouvou, were  decided on precisely these grounds.

 Perhaps sadly we find that allegations of fraudulent calumny are becoming more common and in our professional view it is essential to get early specialist legal advice to ensure that your position is best protected.

For more information about Will Disputes, contact Stephen Lawson on 01925 230000 or email: Stephen.lawson@fdrlaw.co.uk