Beneficiary of a Will witnessed a Codicil

A beneficiary under a Will witnessed a Codicil which obviously confirms the previous Will. Am I right in thinking that the gift to the beneficiary in the Will is now null and void per s.15 Wills Act 1837?

Natalie Tonkin
Bailhache Solicitors

HI Natalie,

My understanding is that if the beneficiary is entitled under an instrument that he did not witness (i.e. the will) then the gift is still valid and s.15 does not apply, even if that beneficiary later witnesses a codicil. The section of the STEP estates manual which covers this directs to the case of Gurney v Gurney 1855.

Rachel Saunders
Hart Law LLP

Not according to Williams on Wills, which states “A gift by a will to a beneficiary is not rendered invalid by the fact that the beneficiary attests a codicil to the will, even though the codicil confirms the will1 unless he also receives a benefit under the codicil.”

See Part C Chapter 9 under the section “Who may benefit under a Will”.

Diana Smart

Gordons LLP

1 Like

I have done a bit more research and agree with you. Thank you so much for your help.

Natalie Tonkin
Bailhache Solicitors