The recent High Court of Justice case dealing with the Hazel Charlton estate raises a number of issues.
One being that the home made Will prepared was not valid and therefore the estate did not pass to whom Hazel Charlton had wanted it to.
For a Will to be valid
1. the person who makes the Will has to be of the necessary mental capacity and of age
2. have the intention to make a Will
3. be free from undue influence ,fraud or forgery
4. have complied with the formality procedure set out by the Wills Act
Subject to the exception of a Will made by a member of the armed forces in active service or by sailors at sea, the person making the Will must be 18 years or over. The person must have the mental capacity to make a Will. The mental capacity can be assessed by a solicitor when the solicitor takes instructions and the solicitors may also take evidence from a medically qualified person.
If a Will is contested on the basis that the person making the same did not have capacity then if this is found to be the case by the Court the Will is not valid and any former Will will not have been revoked by the latter and therefore the former Will is valid. If no former Will was made the intestacy rules will apply.
If the Will does not comply with the formalities and is invalid the wishes of the person who attempted to make it will not be followed and the beneficiary will lose out their inheritance.
In the High Court case the solicitor was found negligent on the basis of not acting on Hazel Charlton’s instructions to change her Will. A home made will was not valid and the beneficiary who lost their inheritance sued.
Emma Fuller is head of the private client team at EHL; our solicitors in Loughborough are experts in their fields and dedicated to quality client care. If you would like to find out more about our solicitors in Loughborough please contact us.
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