Couple win right to inherit after court corrects error in will

A husband and wife have won the right to inherit a share in a house after a court corrected an error made in a will.

The case involved the will of a man who had owned a house with his sister-in-law. They had been tenants in common. The will was amended three times between 2005 and 2011.

The first will contained a clause saying that when he died, his share in the house should pass to his sister-in-law as a gift.

The will was then changed in 2006. The revised version stated that after his death, his sister-in-law would have the right to continue occupying the house rent free as long as she paid for its maintenance. Following her death, the house should be sold and his share should pass to his brother and his brother’s wife.

However, these revised clauses were struck out of the will in the final drafting. This meant the sister- in-law would inherit the man’s share of the house and the brother and wife would get nothing.

The brother took legal action to have the will rectified to reflect the deceased’s true intentions. He claimed the clauses had been struck out due to a simple clerical error.

The court held that when making the 2006 will, the deceased had clearly intended to leave his share in the house to his brother and his brother’s wife. There was no evidence that he later changed his mind.

The clauses leaving his share in the house had been omitted by mistake when drawing up the final draft. The will should therefore be rectified allowing the brother and his wife to inherit in the way the deceased had clearly intended.

GLEDHILL & ANOR V ARNOLD (2015) Ch D (Proudman J) 24/06/15

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