Charities are generally thought of as being mild and benevolent organisations and in many ways they are, but some can also be very aggressive when they are expecting to receive money from an estate and their hopes are dashed.
The extent to which some will go is illustrated by a challenge to the will of a woman who died of cancer. The will left her estate to her partner so that he could provide a home for her three much loved pet dogs.
She made the ‘home-made’ will in 2014 and had it witnessed by two neighbours. It left her whole estate to her partner, who was unaware of this until after her death.
The ongoing legal battle stems from the fact that the woman had made an earlier will in 2007 which gave her entire estate to three animal charities and a health charity. These decided to challenge the later will in a bid to benefit from her £340,000 estate.
It has yet to be seen which way the decision will go, but the lesson to be learned is clear: if you wish to change your will, it is always best to use a solicitor to draft the new one. This not only ensures that there are no procedural irregularities but also means that the solicitor can be called upon to give evidence regarding the advice on the will and the mental fitness of the person making it. In cases like this, such testimony is often crucial.