In Re Estate of Monica Dale Dec, Proctor v Dale: ChD 11 Feb 1993

The claimant’s parents had made mutual wills dividing their estates equally between the claimant and her brother. After the father’s death the mother chaged her will to give the biggest benefit to the brother.
Held: The mother could change her will, but was under a binding trust to deal with the assets subject to the mutuality trust in accordance with that trust. With the rules on mutual wills, the element of mutuality operates to extend the enforceability to allow others beyond the couple making the wills to enforce the gifts agreed to be made. The aim of the principle was to prevent one party who transferred assets relying upon the mutuality of the wills to protect them, from being defrauded. The doctrine did not depend upon the second testator having received a benefit under the first will. To be enforceable there had to be a legally binding contract to make and not to revoke wills and one testator had had to have died having performed his or her part of that bargain.

Judges:

Morritt J

Citations:

Gazette 07-Apr-1993, Times 16-Feb-1993, Independent 14-Apr-1993, [1993] 4 All ER 129

Citing:

CitedDufour v Pereira 1769
Nature of Joint and Mutual Wills
The court was asked as to the validity and effect of a single joint will.
Held: Lord Camden considered the nature of joint or mutual wills. Lord Camden LC said: ‘The parties by mutual will do each of them devise, upon the engagement of the . .
CitedLord Walpole v Lord Orford HL 1797
The court considered the difference between an obligation accepted in law, and what was described as ‘an honourable engagement’. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Wills and Probate, Trusts

Updated: 15 May 2022; Ref: scu.81867