What is a Larke v Nugus Request?
Clients often come to us looking to challenge the validity of a loved one's Will when they have concerns as to how that Will was prepared and executed. If the Will was prepared by solicitors, then the first step a Will dispute solicitor will take is to send a request – but what is a Larke V Nugus request?
Challenging the validity of a Will can be an emotional and distressing time and families are often put off in making further enquiries, but a solicitor can manage the process for you.
A Larke v Nugus request takes the form of a letter which is sent to the solicitors who prepared the Will. It asks them to provide a statement regarding the circumstances around the preparation and execution of the Will.
Who can make a Larke v Nugus request?
A Larke V Nugus request can be made by any person who has a genuine concern regarding the validity of the Will and is often made when a client is looking to challenge the validity of the Will for reasons such as;
- they believed that the deceased lacked capacity when the Will was made
- they have concerns that someone had exerted undue influence over the deceased
- that the deceased did not have knowledge or approve of the Will
The name Larke v Nugus comes from a case where a beneficiary was in dispute with the Executor when they refused to provide a copy of the Will. It is the duty of any Executor to provide copies of the Will to those who request it, if of course they are entitled to receive it.
What information is requested in a Larke v Nugus Request?
- The Larke v Nugus request will include various questions and ask for information including: How long the solicitor had known the deceased?
- Who was in attendance, how instructions were given and who introduced the solicitor?
- Request copies of all notes taken at the meeting, details of where the meeting took place and who else was present at the meeting?
- How the solicitor was sure the deceased knew and understood they were making a Will, what its contents were and how it was communicated?
- Were earlier Wills discussed with the Testator (the person making the Will) and if so, what changes were recorded?
- If the Testator made significant changes to an existing Will did they give reasons for doing so?
Can a Larke v Nugus request be ignored or refused?
The Law Society Disputed Wills: guidance for practitioners states, ‘If a Will you have prepared is disputed, you may be asked to disclose information about the circumstances surrounding its preparation and execution’ and further ‘You are under no duty to comply with the request. However, you do have a duty to make every effort to avoid potentially costly litigation.’
The solicitor who drafted the Will has a duty of confidentiality to the deceased, which on death passes to the Executor, and the solicitor will need the consent of the Executor before providing a response to the request.
What should be included in a Larke V Nugus Statement
The response statement to a Lark v Nugus request should be provided within a reasonable timeframe of 2-3 weeks. The information provided within the statement can then be reviewed to assess the merits of a claim to challenge the validity of the Will by;
- considering the circumstances in which the Will was made.
- consider whether testamentary capacity was considered before the Will was executed.
- investigating whether any undue influence was used which resulted in the Will being prepared and executed in the terms it has.
“The response to a Larke v Nugus request provides us with the basis from which we can assess the merits of a potential claim to challenge the validity of the Will as it provides us with details of the circumstances and events surrounding the drafting of the Will, and details of how and when the Will was made,” said Laura Pracy, Solicitor and Head of Inheritance and Wills Disputes at Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers.
Why Pearson Solicitors?
At Pearson Solicitors our Inheritance and Will Disputes Department are specialists in dealing with various claims to challenge the validity of a Will. We work with clients all over the UK and can advise fully in what can often be a very difficult time.
Our team all have experience in dealing with:
- Contesting a Will
- Entering and removal of Caveats
- Removal of Executors
- Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
For legal advice on making a Larke v Nugus request or any other Inheritance and Will Dispute, contact us on email@example.com or call 0161 785 3500 to talk to us about how to make a claim.Subscribe to our newsletter
Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.