Even apparently obvious or trifling clerical errors in a will or codicil may provide fertile ground for dispute and that is why it is so important to have such documents drafted by a professional.
Anne Caswell looks at a High Court case on point, in which a straightforward mathematical blunder came close to defeating a deceased scientist’s wishes.
By his will, the man divided his residuary estate – which was worth over £900,000 – into 52 equal parts. Six named individuals were each to receive six of those parts and the remaining 16 parts were to be distributed equally between eight charities.
By a subsequent codicil, however, he deleted the gifts of 12 parts to two individuals who had died before him. Four further parts were bequeathed to charity, but the end result was that only 44 of the overall 52 parts were allocated. The remaining eight parts were worth over £140,000 and the executor of his estate launched proceedings in order to resolve doubts as to what should become of them.