Re Beech: 1923

Provided the words of a will have been read and accepted by a testator, they take effect even if the legal effect was not understood: ‘The contention is that if a will does not have the effect intended the testator cannot be said to have known and approved its content. I think that that contention is fallacious and based on a confusion between the terms and the effect of the document. A testator cannot give a conditional approval to the words which had been put in his intended will by himself or by another for him. He cannot say ‘I approve those words if they shall be held to bear the meaning and have the effect which I desire, but if not I do not approve them’. He must find, or employ others, to find apt words to express his meaning; and if knowing the words intended to be used he approves and executes the will then he knows and approves the contents of his will and all the contents even though such approval may be due to a mistaken belief of his own or to honestly mistaken advice from others as to their meaning and legal effect: Morrell v Morrell 7PD 68′.


Salter J


[1923] P 46


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedThompson and others v Thompson and others FdNI 16-Feb-2003
The family sought to challenge the validity of the will, saying the testator lacked capacity, and that he had made the will under the undue influence of the beneficiaries.
Held: There was clear evidence that the testator, whilst changeable, . .
CitedIn the Estate of Knibbs, deceased. Flay v Trueman 1962
Wrangham J said: ‘As Salter J said in Beech’s case: ‘I think that, in order to constitute a will, the words used by the testator must be intended by him, at or after the time when he uses them, to be preserved or remembered so as to form the guide . .
CitedAyling v Summers and Others ChD 14-Sep-2009
Letters of administration had been taken out, but it was subsequently discovered that the deceased, a seamen, may have made a nuncupative will which would be valid if made at sea. He had said: ‘You listen to me. If anything happens to me, I want . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Wills and Probate

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.214015