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Content Of Will Notes

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CONTENT OF WILL
General Principles of Will Construction
 When the court construes a will, it is attempting to discover T's intention, BUT the court will only do this from the words in the will.
 Golden rule: court will attempt to read a will so as to lead to testacy, not intestacy.
 Words and phrases are, at first, given their ordinary grammatical meaning.
 Certain words have more than one ordinary meaning, e.g. money - Perrin v Morgan [1943]: includes cash, money in bank, debts owed to T, stocks, etc.
 The court cannot rewrite the will and does not guess - general rule is that only the words of the will can be considered.
 However, in certain circumstances, extrinsic evidence from outside the will can be admitted - s.21 AJA 1982
→ three

1. Insofar as any part of the will is meaningless situations:

2. Insofar as language used is ambiguous

3. Insofar as evidence, other than evidence of T's intention, shows that language used is ambiguous in light of surrounding circumstances
Commencement
Purpose is to identify T's full name and address - if T uses another name, this should be included here
Revocation Clause
Should be included for avoidance of doubt
Disposal of Body
Direction only - not binding on executors as no property in a human body
Date
Either at the commencement or at the end of the will
 Should always be present in a professionally drawn will
 Can use short form or long form
Attestation Clause
 Shows that s.9 Wills Act 1837 has been satisfied
 Need to amend if T is e.g. blind or illiterate
Appointment of Executors, Trustees and Guardians
 Will must appoint persons to administer the estate and to act as trustees of any trust set up by the will
 Should appoint at least but not more than four - no more than four persons can take out a grant of probate:
o Individuals - friends and relatives have personal knowledge of T but may lack expertise (should ideally be younger than T)
o Professionals advisers either individually or as a firm (usual choice) - have expertise but will charge for dealing with estate

Trust corporation - will usually instruct solicitors anyway and expensive

Public trustee - last resort
 A testator/testatrix with minor children should consider appointing a guardian
Examples:
Types of Disposition
 a gift of my gold Rolex watch to A
Specific
 A gift of a specific, identifiable item of property
 a gift of my 5,000 shares in ABC plc
Gifts
 S.24 WA 1837: a will speaks from death as regards property unless a contrary intention is shown -
to B
the use of the word 'my' or any other word/phrase indicating ownership at the date of the will
 a gift of £10,000 to C to be paid out shows a contrary intention of my account with Barclays Bank
 Doctrine of ademption: if property sold/destroyed/changed in substance, beneficiary receives
(demonstrative)
nothing
 Gift to a number of beneficiaries with power to select: include order of selection, time limit, and procedure for resolving disputes
 Specific beneficiaries bear costs themselves in absence of any provision to the contract

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