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Contesting a will with will claim solicitors no win no fee specialists – the curious case of Langley v Qin

Will claim Solicitors, specialist no win no fee will dispute and will contest Solicitors, discuss the curious case of Langley v Qin; when marriage can save the day

The context – the problem with marriage in Will dispute and Will contest claims

The problem with marriage in the context of a Will dispute and Will contest claim in a nutshell is this:

  1. it revokes all previous Wills (s. 18 Wills Act 1837);
  2. it means that even though you might successfully challenge the Will where for example a predatory lady (or man!) has married your parent very late on in their life, the outcome will be an intestacy where the predatory wife (or husband) still inherits the bulk of the estate.

Our previous blog refers:

The Problem With Marriage – Will Claim Solicitors

In summary this is because under the current rules of intestacy, the widow or widower inherits the first £322,000.00 (which is likely the mean the entirety of most estates) and all of the deceased’s personal possessions and in addition, he/she will inherit half of the rest of the estate with the balance being split equally amongst his/her children. See for example:

Intestacy – who inherits if someone dies without a will? – GOV.UK (

What about challenging the validity of the marriage?

Again, we have discussed this in more detail in a previous blog at:

Marriage, a Trap for the Deceased’s Children – Will Claim Solicitors

In summary, marriage is a trap for the deceased’s children in the context of predatory marriages which is likely to be impossible for them to escape from. Moreover, even if it can be proven the marriage is a nullity, it is treated as having existed up until the decree (that it is a nullity) meaning that the revocation of previous Wills remained extant.

Langley v Qin – a curiosity?

I am still looking for a reference for this decision, but while I do so, have a look at The Times article:

Daughter wins battle against ‘predatory’ wife over father’s will (

It is reported across multiple media sources. Essentially it is a claim by an only child of the deceased against the legal validity of her father’s last Will, which was made just two months before he passed away at the age of 94. He had been married for just a year to the first Defendant (Guixiang Qin) when he was 93 and she was 54. In the Will which was made on 26 May 2020, the First Defendant (the deceased’s widow) was named as Executrix and sole beneficiary. It was prepared by a reputable company of Solicitors. It does not appear from the papers that I have read there was any attempt to obtain medical evidence to comply with the so-called “golden rule” (Kenward v Adams 1975 CLY 3591):

[and see –  3 Key Points about the Golden Rule – Will Claim Solicitors    ]

although and to be clear, this is not a ground for overturning the Will on its own account. However, what its absence does do, is leave the Will propounder vulnerable, where, for example, the Court finds that the onus is on the Will propounder to prove the Will is valid (in circumstances where the usual burden of proof – on the person alleging invalidity – is reversed*).

Against this factual background then it appears unsurprising the court found as it did that the deceased’s last Will was not legally valid on the grounds of lack of legal testamentary capacity, want of knowledge and undue influence. This apparently damning judgment appears to reflect the bland factual background.

There are however some curious features

I am not for one moment casting aspersions, supporting or disparaging any party to this unfortunate matter, but I have difficulty in my own mind in reconciling the following set of facts with the Judgment of the Court in this instance (although perhaps it does not matter – more in this below). The curiosity is this:

  1. there had been a falling out between the deceased and his daughter (the Claimant) to the extent that he had completely cut her out in his earlier (and presumably valid) Will dated 2012;
  2. there was it seems no evidence his testamentary intentions had changed.

So actually in this instance marriage saved the day ensuring, as it did, that the Will of 2012 was securely revoked albeit leaving the Claimant with a more limited award than might otherwise have been the case where, for example, a previous Will had existed (and not been revoked by marriage) granting her the bulk of her late father’s estate.

Risk vs reward – was it worth pursuing the claim?

I am raising this as an issue for practitioners. I don’t know what the Claimant’s costs will be and neither do I have complete and accurate information about the estate make up and value. What I can glean is the following (although very plainly it comes with a health warning!):

– in Langley it is reported the deceased owned a property called “North Farm, 15 Gayton Road, Kings Lynn”

– from publicly available information it would appear the property was owned by the deceased outright (mortgage free) and that it is likely to have a value in the region of £573,000.00 (Zoopla valuation – I have no idea about its accuracy!)

– In late 2018 (according to the case transcript) there was over £200,000 in the deceased’s current account

The current decision appears to provide a strong steer that any dissipation of the £200,000 could be open to question and possibly recovered from the First Defendant’s share of the deceased’s estate.

This though is the issue. Absent the disputed Will of 24 March 2020, an intestacy arises. As at the date of the Claimant’s father’s death (26 May 2020) these rules provide that the First Defendant receives the first £270,000 of his estate, the entirety of the deceased’s possessions and 50% of the balance. As above, I don’t know what the deceased’s estate consists of but my own figures (which could be completely wrong) suggest:

Property £573,000

Cash etc – £200,000 (subject to the cost of recovering dissipated sums)

Total: £773,000

Therefore the Claimant daughter’s maximum share could be £273,000 subject to costs and risk. She might recover 60% or more of her costs (subject to the cost of contested cost proceedings if applicable). If she spent (and I am not saying whether she did or not – I don’t know) £250,000 on her legal team then her “winnings” from the estate could have been reduced to £173,000. Of course, if a CFA and/or ATE insurance was involved as well, the position could be much worse.

All this in my respectful view would have been subject to a 35% risk at a minimum of losing outright (although that has now gone as she has won!). If one bases that on the likely cost of her own legal team and the First Defendant’s (had she lost) and assuming combined legal costs of £500,000, then on a straight forward mathematical approach to this, the cost of this risk could be up to £175,000.

This may then have been a case of fine margins, principle and bloody-mindedness. Hats off to the Claimant and her legal team on this one!

If you consider any of these facts and matters are of interest, are likely to apply to you, or you would like to ask us for more information about our no win no fee arrangement, or you simply want us to assess your claim, then please do not hesitate to contact us for a confidential no strings chat and/or visit us at

We provide details about our no win no fee arrangements at

*NOTE: the court did reverse the burden of proof in this instance

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