Re Ho Chau Ying Chin
08 Mar 2019
Ivy Chin challenged a purported will of her mother, by which she disinherited her five daughters and gave nearly all her estate to her only son, the first defendant. She also challenged a lifetime gift of a substantial property to her grandson, the first defendant’s son, which took place at about the same time. Both were challenged on the grounds of undue influence, and the will on knowledge and capacity.
The deceased was born in Hong Kong, but lived in Southend-on-Sea in a traditional Chinese household in which her life centred around the family takeaway and the Chinese community. She never learned to speak English, and much of the evidence at trial focussed upon the traditional Chinese attitudes regarding the rights of sons to inherit at the expense of daughters. It was also alleged that the deceased’s husband was an abusive and controlling character with a compulsive gambling addition who was violent towards her and his children.
The trial took place over 4 days and attracted considerable publicity:
Giving Judgment on 8 March 2019, HHJ Jarman QC held that the deceased had not known and approved of the later will and further found that, if she had, it had been procured by undue influence by the Son and Husband. He therefore found in favour of an earlier will, by which the deceased gave her entire residuary estate to her five daughters. He also ordered the lifetime gift of property to be set aside for undue influence.
Aidan Briggs was instructed by Neil Lloyd-Evans of LE Law.