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Signatures on a Will

Signatures on a Will

Postby Albert » Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:32 pm

The situation is in England. I am aware that two signatures are required and the witnesses must not be beneficiaries of the will. The same, I would think, would be required for a codicil.

Anyway, fast forward 10 years. The testator has died. One of the beneficiaries wishes to exclude herself from the will. No reason is given. She signs a form saying "I don't want to be a beneficiary of this will my sister can have all my share". That form is witnessed by just one person.

Is the form valid?
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Re: Signatures on a Will

Postby atticus » Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:35 pm

Is this beneficiary one of the witnesses?

Assuming that the answer is no (if not, the will is invalid) this beneficiary who wants out may enter into a deed of variation (cf Miliband).
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Re: Signatures on a Will

Postby Albert » Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:40 pm

No. She is not a witness.
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Re: Signatures on a Will

Postby Albert » Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:48 pm

But would a deed of variation be necessary. A form has been signed that apparently says everything she wants to say? Why have a deed? (I will read up on Miliband boys just now)
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Re: Signatures on a Will

Postby atticus » Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:50 pm

Enforceability.

What consideration is there otherwise for the promise?
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Re: Signatures on a Will

Postby Albert » Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:57 pm

None. Whatsoever.
Last edited by Albert on Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Signatures on a Will

Postby Albert » Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:21 pm

Oh, and just to add, the witness to the form was the solicitor of the sister who is now, apparently, to receive the inheritance.

There is no IHT or other similar such factor involved. (Miliband - interesting stuff! Thank you, Sir)

(Which further begs the question: Why would someone sign such a form?)
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Re: Signatures on a Will

Postby atticus » Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:29 am

The reasons people make such decisions are many and varied.
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Re: Signatures on a Will

Postby Albert » Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:28 am

I suppose if someone wishes to do these things then they should make their reasons for doing so clear, but preferably/always after taking legal advice.

However....

In this particular case, the person who is alleged to have signed the so-called Form, relinquishing her rights as a beneficiary, claims they did not sign it but remembers being called to her sister's solicitor's office years ago to sign some family paperwork.

It was only some time after her sister's death (the testator had died some years previously leaving everything to that sister, apparently on the basis of the signed Form) that she looked into the matter and realised that she was not a beneficiary (whereas she certainly was a beneficiary on the Will), and after a fair bit of digging, the Form was shown to her. "You signed" is about all she was told by her sister's solicitor.

It is not a simple matter, and I suppose if these things were simple there would be no need for lawyers (or indeed internet forums such as this!)

So I wonder, would it be unusual for the ultimate beneficary's lawyer to arrange and be the sole witness to such an event, and would that provide sufficient authority for the executor to act as if the Will had been amended as to exclude one of the sisters because she had apparently signed a form to be excluded?
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Re: Signatures on a Will

Postby atticus » Sun Dec 27, 2015 3:47 pm

This lady should now take legal advice. The way you describe it, there is something very odd going on.
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