The perils of homemade wills and assuming intestacy

signatureA case study demonstrating the importance of taking professional advice when writing a will and when distributing an estate.

In this case, two wills were known about – a homemade will and a will written by a solicitor.

Sharon Baker, of Mowll & Mowll Solicitors, explains further: “When our clients approached us, they were in possession of a homemade will that the deceased had made.

"On further inspection, the will was not valid due to it only having one signature of a witness as opposed to the two required to make it a valid will.

“Our clients were aware of an older will that the testator had made previously; indeed, they had seen a copy of it, but they were unaware of who wrote it or where it was stored, and wanted to do everything they could to avoid the estate being distributed intestate."

The solicitor conducted a combined Certainty will search, which checks if a will has been registered with them, and also searches nationally in geographically-targeted areas for wills that have not been registered.

A will had not been registered or found in the initial geographical areas that the will search encompassed. Based on the client’s knowledge of the deceased’s life, the solicitor then added additional geographical areas to broaden the search. They discovered a will at a firm nearly 100 miles away from Mowll & Mowll, which was made in 1977. This was the last valid will, and ensured that the estate was not considered intestate.

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