Adoptive son loses inheritance through Will writing error
An adopted son will not be able to benefit from the probate process of his adoptive parent’s estate because of a Will writing error.
The appeals court ruled that Terry Marley could not inherit over Maureen and Alfred Rawlings’ natural sons because they technically died in intestate, Metro reported.
Mirror Wills had been made by the couple disinheriting their natural children and naming Mr Marley as their beneficiary.
However, they had signed each other’s Wills instead of their own during a mix-up at a solicitors’ office in 1999 which was not discovered until Mr Rawlings died in 2006, three years after his wife, meaning that they were not legally binding.
Although the Court of Appeal claimed there was “no doubt” that Mr Marley’s adoptive parent had wanted him to inherit, they had no power to correct the error.
Lady Justice Black said: “Unfortunately, that certain knowledge is not what determines the outcome of this appeal. The Will is therefore not valid.”
Mr Marley was unofficially adopted by Mr and Mrs Rawlings at the age of 15. He cared for them until they died. Mr Marley must now pay £25,000 in costs but the final bill may be higher.