Court dismisses appeal over 'will'

Legal Wills


A hand-written note a man gave to two friends promising to leave them his houses has no value in law, a court has ruled.

Ronald Hobday died, aged 59, in July 2003 without leaving a will but had pledged to give two of his homes to Martin and Jane Powell.

Mr Hobday committed his promise to writing, believing it would be legally binding whether it had been formally authorised in a will or not.

But a county court judge ruled the houses, which are worth around £280,000, must be sold and all the proceeds were given to nine of Mr Hobday's cousins, with only £20,000 going to the Powells.

The pair run a music shop in Forest Hill, south-east London and met Mr Hobday in 1992, and even put him up their own home when his properties needed major repairs.

The couple appealed against the decision, but the Court of Appeal has now rejected their bid to have the letter recognised as an enforceable "constructive trust" in their favour.

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