fbpx

Clerical Errors in Your Will or Codicil Can Create Discord After You Are Gone

6th April 2021 By

Even apparently obvious or trifling clerical errors in a will or codicil may provide fertile ground for dispute and that is why it is so important to have such documents drafted by a professional. In a High Court case on point, a straightforward mathematical blunder came close to defeating a deceased scientist’s wishes.

By his will, the man divided his residuary estate – which was worth over £900,000 – into 52 equal parts. Six named individuals were each to receive six of those parts and the remaining 16 parts were to be distributed equally between eight charities.

By a subsequent codicil, however, he deleted the gifts of 12 parts to two individuals who had died before him. Four further parts were bequeathed to charity, but the end result was that only 44 of the overall 52 parts were allocated. The remaining eight parts were worth over £140,000 and the executor of his estate launched proceedings in order to resolve doubts as to what should become of them.

Ruling on the matter, the Court noted that the terms of the codicil created an evident mathematical inconsistency with the will. That had the potential to create a partial intestacy by removing the eight unallocated parts from the scope of his will. In that event, they would fall to be distributed to his next of kin. The Court, however, found that such an outcome would not reflect his true intentions.

The Court found it unlikely that, having taken the trouble to make a detailed will which, on the face of it, provided for the distribution of his entire estate, he would have intended the codicil to create a partial intestacy. The likelihood was that the mathematical mismatch arose from a simple clerical error.

That conclusion was supported by close analysis of other documents – including a previous will – that had been created during his lifetime. The Court exercised its powers under Section 20 of the Administration of Justice Act 1982 to rectify the will so as to delete the words ‘fifty-two parts’ and replace them with the words ‘forty-four parts’. That amendment, the Court found, resulted in the whole of his estate being distributed under the terms of his will and in accordance with his wishes.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Challenge to Will's Validity Rejected by High Court

12th April, 2024 By

The best way to ensure your assets will be distributed as you wish is to have your will professionally drafted by a qualified solicitor. In a recent case, a challenge to the validity of an elderly man's will was dismissed by the High Court. The man had previously made a will in 2011, leaving most of his estate equally to his three children. In 2018, by which time one of his sons had predeceased him, he made a further will, leaving the residue of his estate to his other son...

Defiance of Family Court Orders Will Always End Badly

10th April, 2024 By

Custodial sentences very rarely come into play in the family courts. Where there have been repeated breaches of court orders, however, judges may have little choice but to clamp down. This was illustrated in the High Court during committal proceedings that stemmed from a child custody dispute. The background to the case involved contested proceedings between the father and mother of a young child. These concluded with a court order establishing that the child – a daughter – would live with the mother. Three months later the daughter travelled with...

Claim for SDLT Relief on Annex Unsuccessful

8th April, 2024 By

When buying a property consisting of more than one residence, it may be possible to claim multiple dwellings relief (MDR) against Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). However, there are certain conditions that must be met for an MDR claim to succeed, as a recent case illustrates. A property was purchased for £1.8 million. Prior to the purchase, the buyer had agreed with the seller that he would be allowed to carry out works to construct a self-contained annex at the property. The buyer's SDLT return included a claim for MDR...

Divorce – Alleged Bigamy Raised in Financial Remedies Dispute

5th April, 2024 By

The issue of bigamy and its potential impact on a person's ability to seek financial remedies in a divorce came under the legal spotlight recently. A husband made an application to strike out his wife's financial remedies claim on the basis that she had committed bigamy and deceived him into a marriage when she knew she was not free to marry. This deceit, he claimed, was so egregious that, as a matter of public policy, she should be debarred from pursuing any claim for financial remedies against him. The husband based...