At VWV, we routinely encourage people to make a will to ensure their assets will pass as they want on death. However, as the spotlight has recently shone on fraudulent calumny cases, we are often asked: "What is the point of making a will, if that will can be challenged after my death?"

Will challenges are legitimate claims as long as they are founded upon established legal grounds. But that does not mean that they are easy to win.

What is fraudulent calumny?

Calumny comes from the French word 'calomnie' and broadly means deception. Add fraud, the meaning of which we are all familiar with, and a rough and ready translation can serve as 'deliberate deception'.

A recent case in the courts

The case of Christodoulides v Marcou involved a Cypriot family and two sisters who fell out over their mother's will. One of the sisters, Niki, was found by the court to have deliberately poisoned her mother's mind against her sister, Andre, in a number of ways. As a result, the mother excluded Andre from her will, where she had previously intended to include her.

The mother's will was declared invalid and the mother's estate was divided up between Niki and Andre equally.

The outcome of successful cases

You should always examine carefully what will be achieved in bringing any form of will challenge before embarking upon one. The question must always be asked: what result will a successful challenge produce? This will depend upon whether former wills existed and what their provisions were.

If you believe that a will has been affected as a result of deliberate deception, you should seek specialist advice to assess your prospects of success.

- Megan Seabourne is a partner at award-winning Watford based law firm VWV