Knowledge and approval is an important requirement that must be met in order for a Will to be upheld as a valid Will. In this case the challenge to the Will (on the basis of lack of knowledge and approval) was accepted by the High Court despite the Will being drafted by a firm of Solicitors, read by the testator and duly executed with the relevant mental capacity intact. Such challenge was on the basis that evidence was available proving that the testator did not in fact understood the terms of the Will.
The main fact that led to the Court’s decision was evidence surrounding taking of instructions from the testator. Instructions were given by the testator during a face to face meeting, however, the Will was subsequently drafted by a paralegal based on her understanding of the instructions rather than the testator’s actual instructions. The change to the instructions were not explained to the testator in clear terms.
In order to rectify this, the Court used its power to amend the wording of the Will to give effect to the testator’s wishes which were to leave his farm to his four sons.
The Court emphasised the importance of detailed attendance notes to assist in these situations and such evidence was regarded to be more helpful than oral evidence i.e. of the paralegal who drafted the Will.
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