Validity of Wills—rectification of Wills
Validity of Wills—rectification of Wills

The following Wills & Probate guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Validity of Wills—rectification of Wills
  • The court's power to rectify
  • Clerical error
  • Failure to understand
  • Procedure
  • Rectification v negligence?
  • Alternative remedies

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): As announced on 17 April 2020, the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has authorised District Probate registrars to allow statements of truth to be used in place of affidavits for non-contentious probate applications and processes during the coronavirus pandemic. The relevant rules which are affected by the guidance are: Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987, SI 1987/2024, rr 12(1), 16, 19, 25(2), 26, 32(2), 44(12), 46(2), 46(4), 47(4), 47(6), 48(2)(a), 50(2), 51, 52, 53, 54(3) and 55(2). The guidance is valid until 30 July 2020 but may be made permanent by statutory instrument in future. See: LNB News 17/04/2020 92. For updates on key developments and related practical guidance on the implications of coronavirus for practitioners, see: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Private Client—overview and Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit.

The court's power to rectify

A claim for rectification is not actually a probate claim as such, but it is relevant under that general heading as an extension of a claim for want of knowledge and approval where a mistake in the drafting of a Will has been made.

Rectification is available for deaths after 31 December 1982 under section 20 of the Administration of Justice Act 1982 (AJA 1982) which provides that:

'If a court is satisfied that a Will is so expressed that it fails to carry out the testator's