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High Court dementia case highlights need for IHT planning

Wills need updating whenever there is a significant life event

A bitter legal dispute over a will written by someone suffering from dementia has highlighted the importance of inheritance tax (IHT) planning.

Duncan Parsonage lost a three year legal dispute with his siblings over their mother’s will, which he said was written when she was suffering from dementia.

Parsonage argued the will should be deemed invalid and her previous will, where he inherited more, should be used.

The High Court judge ruled in favour of the siblings, saying that while the mother was suffering from dementia-like symptoms when the second will was drafted, her dementia had not adversely affected her capacity to set out her final wishes.

David Gibb, financial planner at Quilter, said it is important that people update their will as soon as possible whenever there is a significant life event or circumstances change. 

“Trusts are an invaluable tool for complex situations,” he said. “A trust would be run by a number of trustees after your death, who would distribute funds in line with your wishes. However, they can also adapt to any change in circumstances instead of strictly adhering to the will.”