The call of the Larke

The BBC recently provided us with an insight into the infamous divorce of Argyll vs Argyll, in which an induction was granted to protect against the exposure of marital confidences. This got us thinking about the cases that continue to be cited, the obvious one in our area of the law is the case of Larke vs Nugus…


Larke vs Nugus – the history

Solicitor Mr Arthur Larke, prepared a Will for the deceased, Elsie Moss, dated 1st May 1973. Mr Larke was also the executor. This Will left Elsie’s Estate to her carers, Mr and Mrs Lucas.

Following Elsie’s death, Elsie’s niece, Ms Henrietta Nugus, came forward to dispute the Will, as the deceased’s earlier Will had left her Estate to Ms Nugus. Given Mr and Mrs Lucas had only started working for the deceased just a few months prior to her death, Ms Nugus was concerned that the deceased had not known and approved the content of her Will and/or had been unduly influenced by Mr and Mrs Lucas.

Due to her concerns, Ms Nugus made numerous requests to Mr Larke to see a copy of Elsie’s 1973 Will. No response was received from him and as such she issued a caveat in January 1974. Following this Mr Larke issued proceedings to propound the Will, which resulted in Ms Nugus counterclaiming on grounds of lack of knowledge and undue influence.

Subsequently, Mr Larke received a letter from Ms Nugus’s solicitor in November 1976, in which he was asked to provide a statement based on the circumstances around the execution of the will – again he did not respond.

Over the course of the following year facts around the Will became clearer, resulting in Ms Nugus withdrawing her claim in December 1977. This left only the costs to be resolved.

The costs 

It was ordered that Mr Larke’s costs would be paid out of the Estate rather than by Ms Nugus, which left him open to a negligence claim from the beneficiaries of the Estate.

The Larke v Nugus term is now known as a request of a statement from the solicitor or will writer who prepared the will detailing the circumstances surrounding the execution of the will.

A response to these requests must be forthcoming in most cases and requires the original will drafter to retrieve their file, try to recall the circumstances of the will, and then produce a chronological and clear account in respect of all the questions raised. Memory and previous note taking standards are tested against a backdrop of fear of potential negligence claims.


Our survey says

As inheritance disputes is all we do, we were curious as to how the wills and probate sector were dealing with such requests.

So, we conducted in depth research in which we surveyed over 40 law firms and administration companies regarding Larke vs Nugus requests.

85% of those surveyed confirmed that Larke vs Nugus requests would rise in line with the increasing numbers of claims.

65% had already received multiple Larke vs Nugus requests.

The biggest concerns revealed themselves to be lost time and money in responding to the requests and the fear of negligence claims.

Full survey results

The tech part

Did you know that 1 in 4 individuals say they will bring a claim if their inheritance is not what they expect?

From our research and the fact we deal with inheritance disputes solely day in, day out, it is clearly evident that these types of disputes are not slowing down and will continue to rise.

To help individuals executing wills and drafting them, Larke an innovative piece of software has been designed to make wills more secure, safe and robust.

Larke works seamlessly alongside any will writing platform and includes a supervisory dashboard, prompts for will writers relating to potential capacity, undue influence, 1975 Act issues and then on execution automatically produces a Larke vs Nugus type statement to store with the will file, ready and waiting for any potential claim enquiry!

A round up of the key features

– Automatically generates a Larke v Nugus response alongside each executed Will

– Gives claim avoidance prompts, including a 1975 Act claim checker

– Reduces the risk of negligence and Will claims

– Includes a dashboard to track the progress of all your Wills

– Makes your Wills harder to challenge

– Saves you time and money

– Enhances your service offering, providing you with a new income stream

– The service can be included in your standard fees or recharged to client

Tell me more about Larke

What’s the cost?

According to our research the average cost of answering a Larke vs Nugus statement is £639 and companies waste around £194 per month in lost time dealing with these requests.

This lost time is set to increase as the number of inheritance disputes in the high courts has also increased and is projected to expand rapidly in the next few years.

Larke is a subscription based service operating on either a simple £45 per month for unlimited use or £14.99 per month plus £5 per Larke statement generated. VAT will be payable. Our Larke statement can be recharged out to your clients as a disbursement tool. 


We are offering new subscribers to the IDRN a free Larke trial

The IDR Network will launch this month. As a dedicated team of contentious probate specialists with over one hundred years of combined experience, we are experts in this field and have a wealth of knowledge between us that we want to share.

We have created the IDR Network to provide you with the latest information, support and training when it comes to dealing with disputes of this kind. Along with step-by-step guidance and collaboration when referring clients for specialist representation.

The benefits of registering with the IDR Network

– FREE membership!
– Free initial expert advice and assistance
– Tailored training modules to all of your non contentious private client team
– Access to our LegalTech and FinTech products
– Offers and content from our trusted partners to help you help your clients
– 10% Fee share arrangements often available
– Guest passes to the IDRU a ‘university’ style online learning platform – free ongoing CPD training !

We provide a phased clear and supportive journey for the client as well as working on a win:win basis with our referrers, which includes genuine reciprocity of client referrals whenever the opportunity arises and absolute transparency.

The IDR Network is free to subscribe to, and on subscription you’ll unlock five complimentary uses of Larke!

Register your interest

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