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Why Making a Will is So Important

A recent case decided in the High Court has highlighted the importance of making a Will.

The dispute involved farmers.  Anthony Sowray (Tony) had farmed Gilmoor Farm in Harrogate for many years.    Tony died without having a Will in place.  He had a daughter Claire Sowray, from whom he had previously been estranged, who automatically, under the intestacy rules, inherited the entire estate.   

Matthew and James Wills had worked for the deceased, on the farm for many years.  Tony had promised them that upon his death, they would inherit the land. He had told them on a number of occasions that the land one day would be theirs.  Notwithstanding these promises, and not having made a Will, they inherited nothing upon Tony's death, as a consequence of which they launched an action in the High Court.  

The process was a long and expensive one.  Many witnesses had to give evidence about the Wills brothers working on the land and about the assurances that had been made to them by the deceased over many years.  

Matthew and James were successful in their claims.  They won almost half a million pounds worth of land.  Additionally, associated outbuildings and barns.  The deceased’s daughter Claire inherited the farmhouse.

This case highlights, even if you are not a farmer, with extensive land,  that in order to prevent a situation like this arising it is important to ensure that you have made a Will.   Had this relatively simple step been taken, then a lengthy and expensive Court battle resulting in a trial could well have been avoided.  

RDC has expert lawyers who can assist you in this regard.  Please do not hesitate to contact one of our Team.   Feel free to telephone one of our offices to arrange an initial discussion. 

Bingley – 01274 723858
Ilkley  - 01943 601173
Bradford – 01274 735511

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