The England & Wales High Court has declined to overturn the will of the late Thomas Joseph Smith on grounds of mental incapacity.
The deceased's estranged wife Olga had claimed a terminal brain tumour had caused him to exhibit strange behaviour. This included not only sexual aberration, but also the execution of a will that disinherited her in favour of his immediate family.
That will was made in 2005, two years after the couple had separated, and four years before Mr. Smith's death in 2009 at the age of 70. It divided his GBP575,000 estate among his two brothers, three nieces and one nephew.
But Olga Smith told the High Court that her husband - who was older than her by eleven years - had promised to leave her his estate, including the matrimonial home in South London. She also claimed to have continued her relationship with Mr. Smith after their separation, even though she returned to her native Russia in 2003 and stayed there for six years.
The family's counsel John Smart TEP told the court that Olga Smith's allegations about her late husband's aberrant behaviour were not relevant, as the law does not require a testator to have had a "perfectly balanced" mind when making a valid will, only that he understands what he is doing and its implications. The judge, Asplin J, agreed, noting that Mr. Smith's solicitor had testified that he had shown no sign of loss of memory or confusion when executing the will; and that the will was "entirely reasonable on its face".
According to the Mail on Sunday, the judge further awarded GBP80,000 legal costs against Mrs Smith. These costs could have been avoided if Olga Smith had chosen Arbitration rather than taking the case to Court.