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Irish Courts to Decide on Home-Made Will

A judge at the High Court in Ireland has been asked to decide whether the signing of a ‘home-made’ will had the effect of revoking previous wills, reports the Irish Independent.

The wills in question belonged to William Courtney, who died in 2013 and left behind a substantial estate that included assets in both the UK and Ireland. He was married and had no children, but was reportedly on good terms with his numerous nephews and nieces.

In 2006 Mr Courtney wrote a will in England dealing with his British assets. These amounted to around €1.6m, made up predominately of the family home in London. Under the terms of this will, he left most of these assets to his wife.

In 2007 he made a second will in Ireland, which said that his Irish assets, amounting to €1.8m, were to be left in trust for his wife and his sister. When they died, some of his wider family, including nieces and nephews, would become beneficiaries of the trust. He subsequently added four codicils to this will giving further details on the distribution of his Irish estate.

Shortly before he died, Mr Courtney filled in a pre-printed ‘home-made’ will, which again confirmed that his wife should inherited the majority of his British assets.

However, this will contained a standard clause revoking all previous wills, which would mean that Mr Courtney would be deemed to have died intestate with regards to his Irish assets. The High Court has therefore been asked to determine whether this was what Mr Courtney actually intended.

Both his widow and other relatives are in agreement that he always intended for his English assets to go to his wife and his Irish estate to his Irish relatives.

The Judge has so far reserved her decision in the case.

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