Executor Had to Reimburse £300,000 to an Estate Because of Intentions Set Out in an Earlier Mutual Will

December 17, 2013 4:24 pm

Two sisters made detailed mutual wills (leaving their estates to each other) in 1991. The wills stated that when one sister predeceased the other, further clauses in each other’s wills would come into effect, leaving their estates to 15 beneficiaries. In spite of this agreement however, in 2003, the surviving sister decided to change her will to add two new beneficiaries including her hairdresser. Then in 2006 she changed her will for a second time leaving the entire estate to her hairdresser, Ms Fraser, whom she also appointed as sole executrix. Upon her death, this had the effect of leaving Ms Fraser with £300,000.

The claimants in this case – who were some of the beneficiaries under the original mutual wills – brought action claiming the original mutual wills were still valid, therefore requesting the new executor and beneficiary return the £300,000. The court found there was sufficient evidence of intention when the original mutual wills were created for them to still be in force; therefore, the executor had to reimburse the estate.