In our courts, wills are contested and challenged every day. Despite the best intentions of the testator, or author of the will, there is no such thing as a will that cannot be contested. Still, it is important to remember that a will is designed to protect the wishes of the testator after they are deceased and the will comes into play. After all, the testator took the time and paid the expenses to have a will written, so shouldn't their wishes be honored? Still, everyone has heard the stories of testators changing their minds or re-writing wills on their deathbeds. Although painful for the surviving families, the mental sanity of the testator in these cases is often brought into question. For legal scholars, the question is finer than this. Is a testator allowed to divide his or her property however they wish, or is do dependents, family members, and others affected by the will have a right to question the testator's decisions after they (the testator) are gone and unable to clarify their wishes?
[...] Tesheira, Karen, “Trinidad and Tobago: A Case for Reform in the Law of Succession.” The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol 45, No (July 1996): 675-684. Ascher, Mark. “Curtailing Inherited Wealth.” Michigan Law Review, Vol No (Aug., 1983): 529-550. Coldham, Simon. The Modern Law Review, Vol No (Jan., 1982), pp. 100-103. Green, Kate.” The Englishwoman's Castle. Inheritance and Private Property Today.” The Modern Law Review, Vol No (Mar., 1988), pp. 187-209. Bradley, D.C. “Meaning of "Family": Changing Morality and Changing Justice.” The Modern [...]
[...] Two people can live side-by-side for years and split expenses, yet in the eyes of the law, a cohabitant may not be necessarily eligible for benefits from the estate. This question is answered by whether or not the cohabitator was getting support from the testator. If the testator was providing support, then legally the cohabitator can make a claim against the will, according to the Inheritance Act. If the cohabitator was living independently financially, then no claim can be made through the provisions of the Act. [...]
[...] Since there is so much uncertainty in many cases as to who should and who should not get property after a will is read, one argument suggests that only a judge is suitable for making the decision in how the property should be fairly divided. The idea is that a judge is unbiased and has no sentiment toward the testator or the family situations, and therefore, can freely make the decisions and interpretations regarding the will that need to be made. [...]
[...] The provision said that person shall be treated as being maintained by the deceased, either wholly or partly as the case may be, if the deceased, otherwise than for full valuable consideration, was making a substantial contribution in money or money's worth towards the reasonable needs of that person.” Gladys had to prove that her sister was indeed providing for her support and that Gladys had provided “full valuable consideration” to her sister. This is the point that the courts took issue with. [...]
[...] This made many critics of the Inheritance Acts nervous in that citizens and legal scholars alike began to worry that the Inheritance Act was nothing more than a disguise for a Marxian agenda where the courts would re- distribute wealth based on their own vision of how wealth distribution should happen in society. The defense of the law was that there was a need to give the courts power over the intentions of the deceased in some scenarios. The thought was that in many cases, people who expected to be taken care of, or should have been taken care of out of the testator's estate were overlooked. [...]
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