18 July 2013

Hawksford and Carey Olsen set legal precedent and secure UK charities £1.5m

Three UK charities are set to gain £1.5m as a result of a landmark court case which has set a useful precedent in the way wills are interpreted.

Hawksford Executors Ltd, represented by Carey Olsen, successfully argued in the Royal Court of Jersey that a clause in a will, made in Belgium in 2008, revoking all previous wills did not apply to an earlier will made in Jersey in 2000. It was argued that the bequests to the UK charities contained in that earlier will should stand.

The court agreed with Hawksford Executors Ltd’s submission that it was not the deceased’s intention to revoke her first will when she made her second will eight years later even though the second will did not expressly state that its application was solely for the deceased’s Belgian property.

“We are pleased that Jersey’s Royal Court agreed there was ‘compelling evidence’ to support our argument and, as a result, the three UK charities will receive their share of £1.5m,” said Donna Withers, probate manager at Hawksford.  

Advocate Keith Dixon, senior associate at Carey Olsen, said that, in finding that the first will should stand, Jersey’s Royal Court had gone further than other legal authorities.

“This is a helpful and pragmatic decision of the Royal Court which develops the law governing the inadvertent revocation of wills. It will be welcomed by practitioners,” said Advocate Dixon.

Jersey’s Royal Court ordered that the will made in 2000 be admitted to probate in Jersey noting that all of the beneficiaries under the will made in 2008 had waived their right to claim any part of the deceased’s property outside of Belgium.