A case in which a conspiracy to suppress a will was alleged has failed in the High Court.
The claimant argued that a Will which benefited her was discovered by members of the deceased man’s family and that it was suppressed. The main evidence for her claim came from an electrician who was working in the house at the time the family made a search for the deceased’s Will. The electrician recalled that he heard a family member shout out ‘Found it! and listened as the will was read out loud. He claimed to remember its principal terms.
Although the electrician clearly had an excellent memory and was regarded as a reliable witness, the judge ruled that the burden of proof had not been discharged to prove the content of the ‘missing Will.
He declined to accept that an earlier, unsigned will should be probated and ruled that the man’s estate should be distributed according to the laws of intestacy.
Says Cathy Owen, “Make sure your will is correctly executed and witnessed and that your whole family knows where it is kept: having a copy held by a third party is also sensible.”