The 1975 Act: Contracts to leave property by will

Sismey v Salandron illuminates the risks to a party attempting to hold an estate to a lifetime contract that property would be left to them, or to anyone seeking to unbind the estate from the ties of such a contract. Imogen Halstead discusses While the court has previously discussed the possibility of collusive divorce settlements …
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Wills: Sealing royal wills – justifiable secrecy?

Natasha Dzameh reviews the High Court’s decision to seal the will of His late Royal Highness Prince Philip In determining whether the will and other probate documents would be open to inspection, the public interest issue would likely be determinative. The sovereign’s will need not be proved by a grant of probate. However this is …
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Probate: In at the deep end

Lessons can be learned about trial conduct when litigants appear in person and more in Lonsdale v Teasdale. Elis Gomer elucidates While showing a ‘real doubt’ as to capacity is not a trivial requirement in evidential terms, once that has been done, the burden will be on the party seeking to propound the will to …
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Powers of appointment: All in the wording

Elizabeth Houghton examines implied revocation of deeds of appointment Those drafting wills should be cautious about including general ‘sweeper’ wording unless there is a good reason to. In the recent case of Equiom (Isle of Man) Ltd v Velarde [2021] it was held that a wide power of appointment contained in a will had the …
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Testamentary intentions: Presuming too much

A challenge to a will on the grounds of want of knowledge and approval where a compos mentis testator has read a professionally prepared will may seem doomed. Daisy Brown analyses a rare successful case A testator who has waited 24 years to change his will and then inexplicably gives two sets of contradictory instructions …
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Will validity: Losing face

Will cases involving the allegation of fraud are on the rise. Laura Abbott explores the legal principles behind the latest decision With the ability of experts to detect even the slightest of differences in paper and ink, and the evidence available from technology such as CCTV and social media, as these cases have shown, it …
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The 1975 Act: After Ilott

Tara McInnes reports on a recent decision in the county court that indicates an understanding approach towards an eligible claimant with little provision and financial need The judge was keen to point out that we still have a system of testamentary freedom. To enable the courts to interfere with such freedom, it needs to be …
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Wills: Trial and error

Alexander Learmonth QC and James McKean report on a case on construction and rectification If the will does not accord with the deceased’s intentions, the wrong is irreversible. Correcting that wrong must be more important than classifying how it came about. There is a will, a company, and two beneficiaries. The will gives 26% of …
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The Human Rights Act and wills: An unlikely but relevant pairing

Unsettled wills are not exempt from human rights considerations. Tim Crook and Alfred Gherson discuss Judges will utilise s3 HRA to interpret wills drafted before 2000 (when the HRA came into force) and which were drafted utilising legislation passed before 2000 in their consideration of how to interpret a will or trust. The Human Rights …
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Wills: Which law to interpret a will – a simple question with a complicated answer

Applications under s48 AJA 1985 are rare. Mary Ashley explores a case which illuminates the court’s approach in such claims To have acquired a domicile of choice, the deceased must have both lived in a location and formed the intention to live there permanently or indefinitely. Clarke-Sullivan v Clarke-Sullivan [2021] is a case which concerned …
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