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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7432
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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My brother in law left a will leaving all to his sister. The

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My brother in law left a will leaving all to his sister. The will have been signed by brother in law and two independent witness. But the will wasn't signed at the same time with all three persons present. Apparently my brother in law signed the will than went to the first witness and ask to sign and at another date asked to the second person to sign. This came to the knowledge of the beneficiary's solicitor, who said the will was invalid, because the law is specific that all parties should sign at the presence of each other.

I s that correct? And if it is there are no mechanism to put it right and follow the wishes of my brother in law?

Note that all parties signed it in good face.
Tx for your help.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your question.
I’m afraid that the solicitor is correct. Under s9 of the Wills Act 1837 the witnesses must see the testator signing or executing the will. If even one of the two witnesses does not see the actual signing of the will, the will shall be considered invalid.
Therefore, his estate would pass according to any previous Will he made providing that the earlier will was valid. If he did not have a Will then his estate would pass according to the Intestacy Rules:-
If the correct beneficiary after establishing to whom the estate should now pass is not minded to vary the passing of the estate to him to those persons directed in the invalid Will then the invalid beneficiaries need to see a local contentious probate solicitor about whether they can make a claim on the estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependent) Act 1976. You must make the application within 6 months of the date of the grant of probate.

In order to make a claim against the estate the person claiming must be able to prove that they were financially dependent to some extent on the deceased. If there was no financial dependency then it’s difficult to make a claim.
If the correct beneficiary is minded that some of the estate should pass to the beneficiaries identified in the invalid will then something can be done about it but they would need to instruct a solicitor.
Sorry it could not be better news.
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