Will Error Sees Beneficiary Lose Out

Posted: 5th April 2011

A recent case serves as a reminder that the intestacy rules only recognise a person’s natural, adopted or illegitimate children and illustrates the need to make sure that no mistakes are made when you sign the document.
Because a husband and wife signed each other’s wills in error, a man they regarded as their adopted son has lost the right to inherit their estate, worth £70,000. So ruled the High Court.
Maureen and Alfred Rawlings began caring for Terry Marley in 1975, when he was 15 years old. They came to regard him as their son and he cared for them until they died. Each had made a will leaving their entire estate to Mr Marley, rather than to their two natural sons.
Unfortunately for Mr Marley, the Court ruled that the mistake meant that the couple died intestate and their estate should pass to their two natural sons, according to the laws on intestacy.