A salutary lesson to will writers

The Judgment is well worth a read. In this case a paralegal (giving evidence now as a fully qualified solicitor) misinterpreted a standard form which had been prepared by a secretary, and produced a will which was not in accordance with the Testator’s intentions. 

The Judge gives helpful commentary at paras 54 onwards of the Judgment, which flag up the errors of the will writer, and which would be useful to those in the field. It was, unsurprisingly, highlighted that the attendance notes on file were more reliable than recollection some 7 years later.  And noted that the will writer did not ask the Testator why his instructions had changed, did not record that the will had been read to the Testator, and the letters sent were “thoroughly misleading” which led to the Testator believing that the will accorded with his wishes.

For those who attended my February webinar, it really does highlight the importance of thorough attendance notes and clear written advice, it is not good practice to rely upon standard forms only as evidence of the Testator’s instructions.

For those who missed it, feel free to contact me for the notes which give practical guidance on avoiding mistakes.

DM me or contact claire.cox@hedgeslaw.co.uk

Drafting error lost sons’ claim on their family farm

The England and Wales High Court (EWHC) has agreed that a son was disinherited after his late father¬ís Will was deemed invalid. The Court agreed with Timothy Mundil-Williams that his father John Williams lacked knowledge and approval of his 2014 Will despite being drafted by solicitors who properly executed his instructions. During the proceedings it was heard that prior to his death, John Williams visited his solicitors office in Newport and verbally gave his instructions to a secretary who made notes of the meeting. She then produced a standard form containing details of the testator, the intended beneficiaries and the estate ¬Ė which totalled ¬£983,000. ¬£700,000 of which was the family farm. John Williams was a divorcee with four sons. Prior to his death, his eldest son Richard (who had been a partner in the farming business since 1979) had taken over the practical running of the farm before his father instructed his 2014 Will. When the secretary handed her information over to a paralegal to draft the testator¬ís will, a discre...