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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Re Wales [2020] WTLR 1121

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Autumn 2020 #180

The deceased died on 17 February 2015 as a widower with no children. He left a will dated 22 December 2008. The claimants were his executors.

Clause 7 of the will left the residuary estate to ‘such all of my nephew’s and niece’s children’. At the date of his death, the deceased had two blood nephews and two blood nieces, and also three nephews by marriage and one niece by marriage. A further nephew by marriage had died in 1992 leaving a son. The claimants sought directions as to whether the gift was just to the nieces and nephews by blood, or whether it was also to the nieces and ...

Wills: The mysterious case of the long-lost will

The appearance of a will after many years is problematic. Joseph de Lacey investigates the outcome of this scenario in Wrangle v Brunt, which also involved an allegation of forgery A will can be signed by another person at the direction of the testator. Where this happens, it is sensible to ensure that a full …
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Wills: Prevention rather than cure

Duncan Bailey and Imogen Trafford discuss best practice to guard against undue influence claims HHJ Matthews considered that the advice and explanation given by the solicitor was sufficient to free the deceased from any influence that might have been exercised by the first defendant. Coles v Reynolds [2020] demonstrates some of the appropriate safeguards that …
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Wills: A welcome update?

Lucinda Brown and Alexander Morgan discuss the impact of the video-link will The possibility of undue influence being exerted on the testator is a key risk of arranging for a will to be executed by video-link. The government has announced that, in September 2020, it will introduce new legislation in England and Wales to allow …
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Barnaby v Johnson [2020] WTLR 67

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Spring 2020 #178

Mrs Maudlin Bascoe (T) died on 29 August 2015. Cs sought to prove a will dated 27 April 2005 (the 2005 will) naming them as executors. C1 was T’s son. C2 was T’s former solicitor and the draftsman of her wills from 1988 2005. D was T’s daughter. T also had two other children – a son, G, (who pre-deceased her) and a daughter, B (who died after T in 2017).

Under the 2005 will, D received a legacy of £100. There was an earlier will dated 25 October 1992 (the 1992 will) leaving D a legacy of £10,000 the validity of which D did not dispute at trial.

D challenged the 2005 will, a...

Wills: A risky business

Laura Abbott sets out what needs to be considered when challenging the validity of a will prepared by a professional ‘The court will require the strongest of evidence to find a will to be invalid and it is extremely difficult to succeed where the medical records and solicitors’ evidence are all supportive of validity.’ As …
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Wills: Gone, but not forgotten

Mark Baxter sets out the current thinking on proving the existence of lost wills ‘It appears difficult to prove a lost will in the absence of supporting evidence that a will existed at all: the court will wish to corroborate the evidence in favour of the lost will with evidence that a will that could …
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Naylor v Barlow [2019] EWHC 1565 (Ch)

Wills & Trusts Law Reports | Autumn 2019 #176

The claimants were practising solicitors and trustees of a trust created by the will of John Hine (T) who died on 4 January 1992. T had had four children. Two, Beryl Clowes and John Hine, were the third and fourth defendants. One, Philip Hines, pre-deceased T leaving two children, Judith Barlow and Janet Lomax, the first and second defendants. The fourth, Basil Hine, had survived T but died before the proceedings were issued leaving a widow, Barbara Hine, who was the fifth defendant.

T had been the sole freehold owner of the family farm, Brown Edge Farm. Clause 3 of his will devi...

Wills: Deeds not words

Partnership arrangements can be problematic upon death. Katie Alsop discusses with reference to Kingsley v Kingsley ‘Had the partners signed the partnership agreement, properly recorded the ownership – both legal and beneficial – of the farm land, documented the terms on which land outside the farm land was occupied, and engaged in some element of …
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