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The Supreme Court Rules an Error in a Will Should Not Necessarily Invalidate it

In the recently concluded case of Marley v Rawlings and Another [2014] UKSC 2, the Supreme Court ruled that an error relating to a signature in Wills will not necessarily invalidate it.

Helen Vorley, of Astle Paterson’s Wills & Probate department said that “In this case it was plain to see that both the husband and wife intended to sign their own Wills – but unfortunately they signed each others.”   Whilst it has previously been set out that a Court does have power to rectify “clerical errors” made in Wills (usually typographical errors and the like), the Supreme Court has extended the meaning of “clerical error” in this case by ruling that the error in signing should not invalidate the Will.   I believe the Supreme Court has taken a common sense approach to a what is a simple mistake.

However, I would advise caution; it will continue to be crucial that a draft Will is always read thoroughly and that people ensure they fully understand the effects of the Will before signing the document.   If a Will is called into question, and the matter proceeds to Court, then the Court process itself can cause distress and upset for all involved and can place a financial strain on the parties.  This can be avoided if all matters are properly carried out in the first place.

At Astle Paterson we ensure that our Wills are thoroughly checked before our clients sign their Wills – and further, we check the document again before placing it in our storage facility; after the Will has been signed.

Please contact Helen Vorley, of Astle Paterson’s Wills & Probate department on 01283 531366 or by way of email at hvorley@astlepaterson.co.uk .

Please click here to view the Judgment of Marley v Rawlings and Another [2014] UKSC 2

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