image of a car window

High Court upholds ‘ingenious’ witnessing of will via car window

The England and Wales High Court has upheld the witnessing of a will through a car window in the early days of the pandemic.

His Honour Judge Tindal found that Stanley, the 90-year-old testator, had the mental capacity to make the will and several other wills in the preceding years despite a diagnosis of dementia.

Indeed, Stanley made six wills in a decade, with members of his family “shifting in and out of inheritance”.

Tindal J held that the testator had testamentary capacity from the 2010 will, a year after being diagnosed with dementia, to the final one on 23rd May 2020. He said:

“He stayed in the car and they saw him sign the will through the window, which he then passed to them and they each witnessed.

This was an ingenious arrangement which predated the amendment to the Wills Act permitting ‘remote attestation’. In any event, it was a valid execution.

Whilst the will was not read over to Stanley, [his solicitor] sent it to him with a clear client-care letter and Stanley signed the acknowledgement slip…

Stanley was plainly very familiar and happy with it – after all, he had plenty of practice with wills.”

Tindal J admitted the will to probate with Stanley having passed away less than three months later, determining that it was lawful and superseded all prior wills.

Read the full case here.

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