A question of interpretation
A recently published High Court judgement has examined the effect of the Will of Violet Hamblen-Thomas.
Mrs Hamblen-Thomas signed a Will in 1968. Her Will stated that her estate should be held on trust for her son Edwin during his lifetime and then pass to his children. The Will then said:
‘In the event of my said son [Edwin] dying without leaving children as aforesaid my Trustees shall hold my estate…on trust for the said Enid Simpson absolutely but should she predecease me then on trust for the said Victoria Wallis absolutely’
Mrs Hamblen-Thomas died in 1973. Enid Simpson died in 1998 and Edwin died in 2014 with no children.
Because Enid Simpson died after Mrs Hamblen –Thomas (rather than pre-deceasing her), the executors believed that the estate would not pass to Victoria Wallis under the terms of the Will.
Victoria, Mrs Hamblen-Thomas’ god-daughter (and Enid’s daughter) challenged this, saying she was entitled to receive it.
The court found that Mrs Hamblen-Thomas must have intended the estate to pass to Victoria if Enid died before Edwin (rather than before Mrs Hamblen-Thomas herself) and therefore the estate should now pass to Victoria under the Will.
This case (full judgement found here) highlights the importance of Wills being carefully and well drafted.
Our friendly team can guide you through the Will making process in an initial, free, no-obligation meeting.
Rebecca McCarthy is a solicitor in the private client department at Barker Gotelee, Ipswich solicitors.