“Forgetfulness, inadvertence or ignorance is not, as such, a mistake, but it can lead to a false assumption which the law will recognise as a mistake.”
This is a statement made by a Judge in the case of Pitt v Holt (2013) when considering whether a Will ought to be rectified after the death of the testator. It is a succinct summary of the power that the Court has to intervene if the words used in a Will do not accurately reflect a testator’s wishes, whether as a result of a typographical error or as a result of a misunderstanding as to the meaning of the word or simply that the person drafting the Will forgot to include a specific legacy and the testator did not pick that up at the time of executing the Will.
Will rectification – correcting errors
Whilst you would expect a professionally drawn Will to avoid such errors, professionals are human beings and accordingly mistakes still do happen.
The good news is that as long as the mistake is spotted within six months of the death of the testator an application can be made to the Courts to rectify the mistake. In order to succeed there does, however, need to be clear evidence, as the Court will not grant rectification lightly. And the Judge in the case of Pitt confirmed that:
“Rectification is a closely guarded remedy, strictly limited to some clearly-established disparity between the words of a legal document, and the intentions of the parties to it.”
How can Nelsons help?
Should you be concerned that a Will affecting you contains a mistake, a member of our Inheritance Disputes or Wills and Probate teams in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham would be more than happy to discuss your case with you.