A summary of key legal updates in the Private Client sector over the past week is as follows. 

Forged Will case

Sangha v Sangha [2021] EWHC 1599 (Ch) involved a forged Will claim in which the High Court followed the approach taken in Face v Cunningham last year. The testator died in India with substantial English and Indian estates, leaving four Wills whose authenticity, validity and construction were challenged by family. In relation to allegations of forgery, the Court decided that, following Face v Cunningham, the burden of proof should lie with the party propounding the Will. The case also had some interesting points to note in respect of construing revocation clauses. High Court considers burden of proof, revocation and effect of bankruptcy in forged will claim | Practical Law (thomsonreuters.com)

Tax residency and impact of Covid-19

The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) has reported on research which suggests that 700,000 UK taxpayers could become "internationally mobile" due to the increased ability (or need) to work remotely from other jurisdictions during the pandemic. Where the time spent outside the UK allows affected individuals to become non-UK resident for UK tax purposes, the effect could be a loss to the government of £32.5 billion in income tax and NICs. Remote working exodus could cost UK GBP32 billion in lost taxes | STEP

Mental capacity and best interests

An NHS Foundation Trust v ZA [2021] EWCOP 39 is an example of the importance given to wishes that a patient expresses when they had capacity. The medical treatment in question was an amputation which the patient had previously clearly expressed opposition to. The Court of Protection decided that, although the continuation of life carried great weight, it was outweighed by evidence that enforcing the treatment was not in the patient's best interests. Enforcing above knee amputation not in best interests of patient who opposed amputation before losing capacity (Court of Protection) | Practical Law (thomsonreuters.com)

Online probate applications

HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has provided advice to STEP on "stopped" online probate cases, which are generally those where there is a processing hold-up due to missing documents/ information. HMCTS has explained that one-third of all current stopped cases now have evidence attached to them and will be re-examined in date order, unless the "stop" was issued in error, in which case it will be prioritised. HMCTS has deployed additional resources to focus on addressing stopped cases. advice-from-hmcts-on-dealing-with-stopped-cases.pdf (step.org)