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Blotting your copybook

Will drafting aims are often overlooked, as case law tells us. But there is really no excuse for sloppy mistakes, says Hannah Herbert

11 October 2013

Will drafting doesn't get much media attention but Joan Edwards' will hit the national headlines in August. Her residuary estate was left to 'whichever government is in office of the date of my death for the government in their absolute discretion to use as they think fit' and firm appointed to act as executors paid this to the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition, the parties in power when Miss Edwards died.

Commentators were outraged. They alleged that, in interpreting "government" as political parties, the executors had failed to give effect to Miss Edwards' wishes. The legacy was subsequently applied to the Treasury, which it was argued (in the absence of any supporting evidence) must have been Miss Edwards' intention.

Richard Roberts, chairman of the Law Society's wills and equity committee, placed the responsibility for the Joan Edwards conundrum on the shoulders of the will draftsman, who had failed to co...

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