A handwritten do-it-yourself (DIY) Will indicating that a father’s inheritance should be shared between all of his heirs has been rejected by the High Court, it has been revealed.
William Tibbles’ original Will, drafted with the help of solicitors, had stated that he wanted his inheritance to be passed down to just one of his daughters, Terri.
The case comes after Mr Tibbles passed away in February 2018, leaving the first Will and a letter of wishes compiled in March 2017.
Leaving the entirety of his £300,000 estate to Terri, the letter states that his other daughter, Kelly, and her children, had been a “disappointment to him”, while Terri’s brother, Paul, was “already financially secure”.
But a DIY Will, allegedly handwritten, signed and torn out of a notebook, was passed to Mr Tibbles’ solicitor three days after his death.
The new Will disinherited Terri and asked that his fortune should instead be passed down to her siblings, Kelly, Paul and others who were not named.
Speaking before the High Court, Paul claimed that his father “validly signed and executed his final Will on 06 February 2018”, five days before he died. He claimed that he and his family had cared for Mr Tibbles before his death, which is why he drafted the new Will.
However, Paul was unable to call evidence at the trial as he missed the deadline for filing documents, reports show.
Terri denied that the document constituted a valid Will.
“I don’t accept that this document was ever signed by my dad. It would have been totally uncharacteristic for him to prepare a DIY will considering his long history of previous dealings with solicitors,” she said.
“The document could just as well have been written and signed by anybody.”
High Court Judge Matthew Marsh agreed, noting that the Will was handwritten but “not in Mr Tibbles’ handwriting”.
“There’s no evidence placed before me about who wrote the Will and whether it was written at Mr Tibbles’ dictation, who was present when that occurred and what his state of mind was at the time.
“There’s no real explanation for his change of mind and no evidence about him signing it.
“All the evidence and the background circumstances point heavily against the 2018 will being a valid document.”
The ruling means that the original Will, crafted in 2007, will stand.
For help and advice with related matters, please get in touch with Natalie Payne, Head of Wills and Estate Administration at Mackrell.Solicitors on +44 (0) 207 240 0521 or at Natalie.Payne@mackrell.com
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