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Daughter must repay money gained through undue influence

A woman has been ordered to return money she received from her mother after a court ruled she gained it through undue influence.

The case involved a mother who had made a Will that included two houses. In the will she shared her estate between her siblings, children and grandchildren.

She had previously transferred £290,000 to one of her daughters and her husband. She then sold her houses and transferred the proceeds – £410,000 – to the couple as a loan on very advantageous terms.

The couple used the money to buy a property for them to live in with the mother. The property was in their names only.

The mother died soon after so the couple sold the property and repaid £410,000 to the mother’s estate. However, they retained the £290,000, together with the profit they had gained from the sale of the property.

Other members of the family took legal action, claiming that the couple had tricked the mother into giving them more of her estate than she wanted to give.

The court ruled that the transactions had been made because of the daughter’s undue influence on the mother.  It ruled that the couple would have to repay enough money to ensure that the other beneficiaries of the Will would receive what they would have received before the houses were sold and the gift of £290,000 was made.

The decision was upheld in the Court of Appeal.

Please contact us for more information about the issues raised in this article or for advice on wills and probate.

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