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High Court rules father’s DIY Will is invalid

A High Court judge has ruled that a father’s ‘DIY’ deathbed Will that disinherited his daughter was invalid, handing her the entire estate.

Three days after William Tibbles died aged 75 three years ago, a DIY Will on a piece of paper “torn from a notebook” was handed to his solicitors, leaving his estate to his daughters Kelly, Susan and Cindy and Son, Paul.

A Will drafted a year earlier had left the entire estate to Mr Tibbles’ other daughter, Terri, with a letter of wishes attached describing Kelly, Susan and Cindy as being a “disappointment” and Paul as being financially secure and not in need of an inheritance.

While Paul Tibbles – the executor of the disputed DIY Will – claimed his father had signed the Will five days before he died, Judge Matthew Marsh found in favour of his sister who claimed a DIY Will would have been “uncharacteristic” given her father had previously used solicitors to draft his Wills.

According to the judge, evidence from a handwriting specialist that there was “moderate to strong evidence to show that Mr Tibbles was not responsible for signing the 2018 Will”, had proven crucial.

He said evidence was lacking as to “who wrote the Will and whether it was written at Mr Tibbles’ dictation, who was present when that occurred and what his state of mind was at the time”.

He said: “There’s no real explanation for his change of mind and no evidence about him signing it.”

The judge ruled that the previous Will should stand, leaving the £300,000 estate to Terri.

Caroline Dobson, an Associate Director with Mander Hadley who specialises in Wills, said: “Making a Will is not particularly time-consuming but it can be more complicated than some people may imagine.

“That’s why it is important to seek professional legal advice rather than leaving it to chance or making a ‘home-made’ Will.

“Ensuring that you have a valid and up to date Will is essential to avoid any issues further down the line and to give you peace of mind that your inheritance will be passed to your chosen beneficiaries.”

For help and advice on matters relating to Wills, inheritance and estate planning, please contact our expert team.

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