Fraudulent calumny occurs when the beneficiary of a Will changes the testator's perception of a potential beneficiary by making a false representation about the character of that other potential beneficiary which results in either:
- the testator leaving more of their estate to the person making the false representation, or
- the testator deciding to leave less/none of their estate to the potential beneficiary who would otherwise have expected to benefit under the Will
Fraudulent calumny is a serious allegation, so the burden of proof is high. It is much more subtle than undue influence which involves threats, forcible persuasion, or coercion. But, due to the very nature of the allegation, it can often unearth itself in the attendance notes of the person drafting the Will.
The recent landmark case of Whittle v Whittle (2022) illustrates the consequences of a court finding that fraudulent calumny has occurred.
Brother wins landmark £1million legal case against his sister who had him cut out of their late father's will by falsely claiming he was a 'psychopath and a criminal'