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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10974
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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An elderly relative wrote his own will and tells me he left

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An elderly relative wrote his own will and tells me he left his estate to 3 charities and a friend. The friend then arranged for him to see a lawyer and took him there and they wrote a will for him leaving all his residual estate after expenses in a trust...
1. My trustees shall hold my residuary estate in trust for my friend -named- of -address - absolutely
2. IF the trust declared in the preceding clause should wholly fail or determine my trustees shall hold my residuary estate upon trust for the following charities in equal shares absolutely
3 charities are then named.
He told me that he can't find the original hand written instructions now, so I can't check what he wrote, but he definitely thinks that he has left a lot to charities. I may be reading this incorrectly but I don't think he has. Please can you explain the wholly fail or determine, because it looks to me as though the charities only receive their bequests if the person named in 1 dies.
1. Dear S, if this is the wording of the will, then there is no doubt but the named friend takes absolutely with the trust to the charities only taking hold if the friend dies. Otherwise the charities have no interest whatsoever. The use of the word "absolutely" means that the friend can do what they want in relation to the monies left to them. The charities are only given a gift in default of the friend getting it. So, you are correct in your assumption that this is the case. This is a markedly different will than the first will written. It gives the friend the absolute interest in what is left to him. This is the case even though trustees are named.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks. I suspected that was the case but wanted to check. No-one knew that this "friend" had taken him to a solicitor, but in conversation with me quite a long time ago he asked whether if you wrote your wishes in a will for charity whether it would be paid. I dismissed it really and said of course, the executor would do it, but now I wonder whether he was a little suspicious himself.
Will a new will stating the usual revoke all former wills etc be enough to put the money where he wants it to go?
3. Yes, a new will, stating that all previous wills are revoked will be good in law to allow him to will the money to who he wants. This will revoke this current will.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. Can sleep at night now- or when I get the new one done.