Codicil Chaos

16 February 2023

At ZEDRA we can help you navigate what do to when someone dies, support you as an Executor or assist individual Executors and Administrators as they navigate the process of Probate.

The Client

An individual who passed away in 2022 had executed a Will during their lifetime, appointing two lay executors.

One of these executors passed away during the lifetime of the now deceased individual. Following the death of the executor, a homemade codicil appointing two new executors was created.

When the individual who had executed the Will passed away, ZEDRA was instructed by one of the new executors to obtain a Grant of Probate on their behalf.

The Challenge

The codicil did not contain an attestation clause and we immediately knew that the Probate Registry would require an affidavit of due execution to demonstrate that it was signed in accordance with s.9 Wills Act 1837, so we took steps to arrange this by contacting the witnesses.

On contacting the witnesses, it was apparent that the codicil was not executed correctly and the deceased and the witnesses did not sign in the presence of each other.

This meant that the codicil was not valid and therefore the person instructing us had no authority to apply for Probate.

The Solution

We had to refer back to the original Will, however the named executor was now based abroad and was unwilling to act. This led to a delay in the application whilst we obtained new instructions, amended all the documents and organised international postage so they could be signed and returned.

As a result of this there were significant delays in administrating the estate, along with increased costs. If the deceased had originally sought professional advice and the codicil had been professionally drafted and properly executed, these issues could have been avoided.

The Outcome

We managed to satisfy the requirements of the Probate Registry and ensure the wishes contained in the original Will were carried out. We were able to highlight to the executors the importance of involving a professional in every stage of the Will drafting process to ensure Probate matters can be administered quickly and efficiently. They were grateful for our assistance and will keep our advice in mind with respect to their own personal affairs.

We go the extra mile to support families through extremely difficult situations, so they can focus on remembering their loved ones and deal with the more personal matters like organising the funeral.

To find out more about how we can help you or how we’ve helped others like you, contact our specialist Probate & Estates Team.

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