A Larke v Nugus request is a request regarding the circumstances of drafting a Will.
The starting point is the case of Larke v Nugus (1979) 123 SJ 327. It is a case I sometimes use when advising probate clients. The case held that the professional who drafted the Will should provide information about the drafting and execution of that Will.
There is no particular format for how the request should be made- it will usually be dealt with by way of a very basic request for information, often in the form of a list of questions. For example:
“Who was present when the Will was executed?”
“Did Mr X present as confused?”
It is usual to accompany the list of questions with a request for the recipient’s case file. This is an important step as it is essential to have a complete picture of how the deceased behaved up to and beyond executing the Will.
I have dealt with a number of cases where, at first blush, it appears that there can be no suggestion of any confusion or mental health deterioration of the deceased. Upon receiving the papers in the matter and reviewing it however, it becomes clear that the deceased has in recent months become less and less clear, more confused, and less understanding of what is happening around him/ her. This MAY form the basis of a claim further down the line.
If you receive a Larke v Nugus request, you are not obliged to reply. However, in most circumstances you should do so. The circumstances of the request may be such that you should speak with your insurance provider first (such as where you have been accused of negligence in drafting or execution).
Failure to respond may result in a costs order against you, or an order that you attend court and answer questions regarding the Will.
Should you require any guidance on, or assistance with, a Larke v Nugus request, contact clerks@ becket-chambers.co.uk to be put in touch with the Becket Chambers Probate Team.