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Mixed-Up Wills

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There is not often much news regarding the law on Wills and in fact most of the provisions are still governed by a Wills Act from as long ago as 1837.  However, the recent case of Marley v Rawlings and another has attracted the attention of the press.

The problem arose from the fact that an elderly couple who had made similar Wills at the same time accidently signed the wrong ones.  As you might expect, the initial reaction was that the Wills were invalid and that their estate would pass to their next of kin under the rules of intestacy.  However, the case was argued all the way through the court system until it reached the Supreme Court, being the highest court in the land.

The Supreme Court took the view that they should look at the intention behind the Wills rather than simply the documents themselves, and of course there could not possibly have been any intention for the couple to sign the wrong ones.  Their final ruling, therefore, was to declare the Wills valid.  There is a worry that this might encourage more court cases to try to correct mistakes in legal documents, but on the other hand the ruling itself means that justice has been done.