A Will must be signed on every sheet by the person who is granting it in order for it to have legal force. It is not adequate to have a copy of the Will. As a result, a copy of the principal Will will not be utilised in place of the principle will automatically. An action known as "proving the tenor" is required in order to get a court order. When the tenor of the copy document is determined, the copy document has the same force and effect as the original document in every regard.
It is critical to distinguish between a lost Will and a Will that has been accidentally or purposefully destroyed in the course of a legal proceeding. Whenever this type of issue develops, it is imperative that you seek legal guidance in order to ensure that you are aware of all of your legal alternatives. This applies regardless of whether you find yourself in the position of executor or in the position of the beneficiary (or potential beneficiary), in which case the recognition of the Will could have a significant impact on the amount of money you get as a result of the recognition.
The Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, was traditionally the only place where actions to establish the tenor of a document could be brought. It has only lately become possible to file these types of lawsuits in the local Sheriff's Courts.
Every person who may have a prospective interest in the estate of a deceased person must be notified of the court action and given the opportunity to object to the application for administration. The term "beneficiaries" refers not just to individuals who would profit from the copy will that is being proven, but also to anyone else who could lose out, such as beneficiaries under an earlier will or those who would be entitled to an inheritance if there were no will. If there is no one else who has an interest in the matter other than the person who is filing the application, notification of the application must be given to Scotland's highest legal authority, the Lord Advocate, who will represent the public interest.
It is necessary to prove three things before the tenor of a document can be determined. The first is that the original document was signed; the second is that the original document was lost, and the third is that the original document was signed.
When a document has been copied or scanned, proving the document's provisions and demonstrating that it has been signed will be very simple jobs to complete. A copy of the document will be made and filed with the appropriate court system. As part of the filing, a formal witness statement stating what the copy is and where it was discovered is usually included as well.
Once again, a witness statement will be required to be submitted to the court in order to establish the circumstances under which the principal was misplaced. The statement, on the other hand, must be coherent and adequately describe the circumstances surrounding the loss of the key document.
If you want to thoroughly destroy a Will and distinguish it from a lost Will, you should burn it, tear it up, or otherwise destroy it completely so that there is no doubt about what you intended. If there are copies, you should do everything you can to recover them and then destroy them in a similar manner to the originals. Alternatively, you should personally destroy the Will, or it must be destroyed by another person in your presence and under your instructions. Provided a Will is accidentally destroyed, it is not invalidated and can still be considered valid if there is a copy of the Will available to the executor. Its legality would have to be established in a court of law. A clause cancelling all previous Wills and codicils should also be included in every new Will, as it is always advisable to do so. When a Will is revoked, it indicates that the Will is no longer valid in legal terms.
The law governing challenged Wills is complicated, and it is critical to get professional guidance from an experienced Solicitor. If you would like to receive free, no-obligation initial legal advice from one of our panel solicitors, please complete the contact form or call 0141 433 2626.
Any Will that is recognised as lawful must have been created under specific conditions in order to be recognised as such. The Will should have been duly witnessed, and the witness should not have been identified as having benefited from the Will in any way, nor should the witness be the testator's spouse, in any way. In addition, the law specifies that the person who is drafting the will must be fully capable of appreciating the significance of what they are about to do. As a result, if any of these issues are in question, the will may not be legal in the eyes of the law.