The history of the case is that the client had given Will instructions to a local firm of solicitors that on his death benefitted his deceased wife’s twin sister and a national association close to him. Sadly, the client’s health deteriorated and he lost capacity and was admitted into a care home. He did not sign the draft Will prior to losing capacity.
The client was an only child and did not have any contact during his lifetime with his family members. He had more contact with his deceased wife’s family and maintained a strong friendship with his deceased wife’s twin sister. He also had a strong affiliation with a national association. The concern was that if the client died intestate then his family members would benefit from his estate which was clearly not what he wanted.
An application to the Court of Protection was therefore made requesting the Court’s authority for the client’s Deputy to sign the Draft Will on his behalf. The Court joined the Official Solicitor to represent the client. A litigation friend was also appointed to represent the client’s deceased wife’s twin sister who sadly had also lost capacity. Interestingly, we encountered quite significant reluctance on the Official Solicitor’s part to deal with things by consent. We emphasised when initially providing the Will instructions, the client had indicated that he had no family on his side. After some 18 months of tracing, we reverted back to the Official Solicitor suggesting the Application should now be put before the court as we had not located any family members. They insisted however, we should incur further costs trying to locate them. When we did find them, residing in Australia and South Africa, we had to serve notice of the proceedings upon them and even after this, the Official Solicitor contacted them directly to explain the nature of the proceedings and encouraged them to seek legal advice just in case they wanted to object!
During this period the client’s deceased wife’s twin sister passed away and we had to make a further application within proceedings for the draft Will to be amended to solely benefit the national association.
Eventually the intestate successors confirmed that they did not contest the application and the Official Solicitor was satisfied that the client’s interests were protected.
The case lasted 2 ½ years and the Court finally made an Order allowing the Deputy to sign the draft Will on behalf of our client. On his death, his estate will pass to the national association which we are satisfied is what he would have wanted as he had strong connections with them during his lifetime.