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Don't leave it until the last minute!

September 17, 2013
Wills, Trusts and Probate

We all have a tendency to put things off, right? Indeed, human nature seems to dictate that the more daunting the task, the more likely we are to postpone doing it. However, as the recent High Court case of Wharton -v- Bancroft and Others demonstrates, putting something off to the 59th minute of the 11th hour can cause a whole host of unforeseen problems. Wharton -v- Bancroft and Others concerned the making of what’s described as a deathbed Will.  In this case, very shortly before his death, Mr Wharton both made a Will and got married to his long time partner, Maureen. The Will which Mr Wharton made, left everything to Maureen, thereby totally excluding his daughters from any benefit. Mr Wharton’s daughters alleged that, due to his state of health and the resulting medication, he lacked the capacity to make a Will. 

Although they dropped this argument before the case came to Court, they continued to argue that their father had failed to convey his true wishes to the solicitor drawing up the Will and that Maureen had steered Mr Wharton into making a Will in her favour. Although, ultimately, Mr Wharton’s daughters failed in their arguments, costly and time-consuming Court proceedings resulted, which may have been avoided if Mr Wharton had sorted out his affairs at an earlier stage. The life lesson here is an obvious one – prevention and not cure will help you avoid costly disputes. Sue Tipper, Private Client Department, stevensdrake 01293 596908 or sue.tipper@stevensdrake.comThis article is provided for general information only. Please do not make any decision on the basis of this article alone without taking specific advice from us. stevensdrake will only be responsible for the advice we give which is specific to you.

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