Various requirements must be met in order for a Will to be valid if a Will fails to record the intentions of the Testator, it will be found to be invalid. Many do not realise that there are actually five grounds on which a Will can be held to be invalid. The most common of these is the failure to record the Testator’s intentions in the grounds of want of knowledge and approval.
The Court does have the power to rectify Wills where there has been an obvious error in its drafting. However, the Court does not have the power to re-write the Will. This has saved the Wills of a married couple who had each erroneously signed the other’s Will.
What applications can be made to change a Will?
Section 20 of the Administration of Justice Act 1982 allows for the Court to step in if they are satisfied that “a Will is so expressed that it failed to carry out the testator’s intentions, in consequence of a clerical error or failure to understand their instructions”.
A clerical error can include the inadvertent omission or inclusion of words, mathematical errors or the blind use of precedent wording which undermines the Testator’s intentions.
A failure to understand the Testator’s instructions is as you would think. A misunderstanding due to the Will-drafter.
What is the time limit?
Applications to change a Will must be made quickly.
The claim needs to be commenced within 6 months of the date of the grant of probate. Claims may be able to be brought out of time with the permission of the court.
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