Supreme Court Delivers Judgment On Mirror Will Dispute

Wills Set To Stand Despite Signature Errors


The Supreme Court has ruled that errors made in relation to the signatures on mirror Wills should not mean that the couple’s intended heir loses his inheritance, following a long-running legal battle in relation to the issue.

Marley v Rawlings and another related to Wills drafted by Maureen and Alfred Rawlings in 1999, in which they outlined plans to leave their estate to their adopted son Terry. However, an apparent oversight meant that they accidentally signed each other’s documents.

The will dispute came to court after Alfred Rawlings’ two sons argued that the Wills in questions must be treated as invalid as a result of the issue.

While the High Court had previously stated that it did not have the power to change the terms of the Will, meaning they should stand in their existing form, the Supreme Court has now stated the error should not mean the couple’s wishes are not met.

Lord Neuberger said in the judgment: “Whether the document in question is a commercial contract or a Will, the aim is to identify the intention of the party or parties to the document by interpreting the words used in their documentary, factual and commercial context.”