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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10126
Experience:  Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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1. Testator wants to revoke his Will. 2. T. writes to his

Resolved Question:

1. Testator wants to revoke his Will.
2. T. writes to his Solicitor to inform him of this.
3. Solicitor writes to T. advising phyisical destruction of Will.
4. Custody of Will held by Executor of Will whom is also Principal Beneficiary.
5. Several letters from T to executor requesting return of Will.
6. Executor refuses to return Will for destruction, in the presence of witnesses.
7. T writes a letter leaving his estate to charity:
"With reference to my request for return of my will I want after I die and all my bills
are paid I want the rest of my money to go to the deaf and dumb and blind people".
8. Such letter is signed by T. and name printed after signature, is dated and witnessed
by one independent witness whom is identified.
9. T dies and the executor is trying to admit the original will to probate.
I have read section 20 Wills Act 1837 and registered a caveat.
Can I stop the executor from financially benefitting from his obstruction.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.

My name is ***** ***** am happy to assist you with your enquiry.

The normal way of revoking a will is either expressly by a subsequent will or by physical destruction either by the testator or by someone on his express instructions.

Unfortunately, T's letter purporting to leave his Estate to Charity is not a valid Will, in that only one party has witnessed it. If it had been executed correctly, then this would have automatically revoked his "previous" Will.

As it stands, therefore, the question needs to be- was the Will revoked or not?

I hope you appreciate I can't give a "Yes" or "No" answer to this, as it is something that would need to be decided in Court. To show that the Will was revoked you would need to provide as much evidence as possible to not only show that T intended to revoke his Will but also produce some evidence of the T's state of mind at the time - if known (to confirm he was of sound mind). You will therefore require copies of all the correspondence between T and his Solicitor and T and his Executor. I cannot find any specific authority on similar facts and it will be a matter of convincing a judge the Will was revoked.

On a side point, please note that if the Will is deemed to have been revoked, then T's Estate would pass in accordance with the terms of Intestacy (ie to his next of kin). As mentioned above the Charity will not receive a penny, whichever outcome it is.

I hope this helps you and set sout the legal position.

Kind Regards


Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for this and for your prompt reply.

Section 20 Wills Act refers to revocation by destruction or the making of a new will.

As there is no new Will, are you saying that if the intention of the testator to revoke the Will could be established through letters and Witness Statements, then potentially there could exist legal grounds to start a case to claim revocation occurred notwithstanding Section 20.

Is there not a law to prevent a person inequitably securing financial benefit from his own obstruction.

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Hi Stephen,

You may find it hard, but if you can show that T intended to revoke his Will, and the only reason it was not destroyed was due to the Executor's actions, then the Court can make an Order to say the Will was revoked. It is a very strange case indeed.

There is no direct statute concerning a party benefitting financially from their own misdemeanours, but comes under common law, which is a topic for another day.

Kind Regards


Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10126
Experience: Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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