Can "deathbed wishes" override a will?

Judith Thompson

To speak to an expert solicitor about making or challenging a will, call 01271 343457 today.

The established law in relation to so called "deathbed wishes" came from the High Court case of King v Dubrey (2014). June Fairbrother had made a will in 1998 leaving her estate, including her home, to various animal charities. 

After Mrs Fairbrother died, her nephew alleged that she had told him before her death that he could have her property, and gave him the deeds. The High Court allowed the nephew to keep the property as his aunt was 'in contemplation' of her death when the promise was made.

However, the Court of Appeal has overturned this decision. The Court of Appeal said that as the gift was made four months before death, Mrs Fairbrother was not expecting to die "soon". They also found that she could have changed her will if she had wanted to.

The Court of Appeal has made it clear that where possible, the wishes of the deceased, as set out in their will, should be followed. Claims involving "deathbed wishes" are notoriously difficult to prove due to a lack of written evidence. 

The decision underlines the importance of having an up to date will in place, to ensure that it reflects your wishes. 

At Samuels, we have an experienced and dedicated team who can prepare a will for you for a great value fixed fee.

If you already have a will in place, we will check it's validity for you, for free.

Contact us today for a free no obligation discussion about how we can help.