A husband died, leaving behind his two adult children from his first marriage, and his second wife, who also had children by a previous marriage

The couple had made identical wills. On the death of one partner, their estate was to be left to the other. On the death of that partner, the two sets of children were each to receive half the estate. But soon after the husband died, his second wife changed her will to leave the whole of her estate, including what she had inherited from him, solely to her own child.

Turner Freeman was not involved in making the husband’s will, but helped his children to bring proceedings. We argued that as the couple had made mutual wills, the wife was bound in contract, and could not lawfully change her will after her husbands death. The children produced evidence of conversations with their father in which he had expressed his understanding that she could not do so. The case went to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, which dismissed the claim “with regret”. It held the children’s evidence was simply not enough to establish a contract that would stop the wife changing her will.

You can see how important it is to get good legal advice when making your will. It must be drafted properly to reflect your intentions. Had the couple made a contract in conjunction with their wills, each could have protected the interests of their own children, so the surviving partner could not cut out the other partner’s children.

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Since 1952 Turner Freeman Lawyers have been fighting to protect the rights of individuals and to make sure they get the compensation they deserve.

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