Alien delusions and testamentary capacity

Alien delusions and testamentary capacity

In the case of Lloyd v Jones and Others [2016], the judge found that the Deceased had testamentary capacity even though she had delusions of aliens landing on her farm and Saddam Hussein breaking into her property.

Mrs Harris died in December 2010. She was a widow who had two children, Sian and John. She had assets of around £600,000 which primarily comprised of a farm. Mrs Harris executed a homemade Will on 26 February 2005. The Will was prepared by her niece, Dr Parry Jones (a retired GP), without the involvement of a solicitor. The Will left a gift of £10,000 to Sian, with the rest of the Estate being divided equally between John and his wife (or the survivor of them).

The Will was challenged by Sian on the grounds that her mother did not have capacity to make the Will, and that she did not know or approve of the terms of the Will. Sian asserted that since 2004, Mrs Harris had been suffering from delusions and dementia. Mrs Harris told Sian of aliens landing and invading the farm, poisoning the water supply and of Saddam Hussein having broken in.

The court held however that Mrs Harris retained capacity to understand that she owned a farm and that she had a son and daughter. It applied the well known test of Banks v Goodfellow, and held that notwithstanding her dementia, Mrs Harris still has the capacity to understand the nature of her act (of making a will) and its effects; the extent of the property in her estate; and that no disorder of her mind affected her ability to dispose of her property.

The Judge confirmed the delusions were not relevant as they did not affect the dispositions made in her Will, and her understanding of them.

For more information or some preliminary, confidential advice please contact Rajvinder Kaur, Solicitor in the Disputed Wills Team, on 0117 906 9352 or email