In Vucicevic & Anor v Aleksic  EWHC 2335 (Ch) the High Court upheld a homemade Will despite a number of areas where it lacked clarity and did not meet procedural requirements.
Normally, a legal document is “voided for uncertainty” where the meaning is unclear. In the case of a Will, this would mean the estate may then be partially or wholly subject to the rules for intestacy.
Mr Veljko Aleksic was born in Montenegro and died on 24 October 2014 having gained a domicile of choice in England & Wales.
- He prepared a holographic Will in 2012, though it was otherwise undated. An affidavit of execution was provided by one of the witnesses.
- A number of problems were identified with the Will
- The grammar, spelling and punctuation all contained errors
- Various legacies were unclear as to either amount or the beneficiary
The Court found that “Bad English can still make a good Will, as long as the testator’s meaning can be understood”. By using third party sources and a Deed of Variation between potential beneficiaries the uncertainties were clarified and the Will upheld.
Clearly, the problems could have been avoided if Mr Aleksic had had a professional draw up the Will; this seems particularly important as a non-native English speaker.
Also, one should take steps to specifically identify the beneficiaries. In the instant case, the “Serbian Orthodox Church” could have referred to the headquarters in Serbia, an honorary metropolitanate eparchy in Montenegro or a church in London.
Links to our guides: