The claimant appealed against a finding that he had entered into a mutual will contract with the deceased.
Held: It is a legally necessary condition of mutual wills that there is clear and satisfactory evidence of a contract between two testators, but the claimant’s argument for insufficency in this case was ill conceived and the appeal failed.
Mummery LJ, Dyson LJ, Maurice Kay LJ
 EWCA Civ 782,  Ch 212,  2 WLR 1,  WTLR 1449
England and Wales
Cited – Goodchild v Goodchild ChD 13-Dec-1995
The husband and wife had made mirror wills. They divorced, and the husband made a new will. After his death, the child and the third wife of the deceased made a claim against the second wife.
Held: The wills were in identical terms, but . .
Cited – Dufour 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 . .
Cited – Re Oldham; Hadwen v Myles 1925
The court was asked whether an agreement for mutual wills should be inferred. The court said that it is inherently improbable that a testator should be prepared to give up the possibility of changing his or her will in the future, whatever the . .
Cited – Birch v Curtis ChD 2002
The court held in favour of a mutual will made by the deceased husband with his second wife, to the detriment of the children of the husband’s previous wife, so disinheriting those children from their mother’s assets and indeed the husband’s own . .
Cited – Birmingham v Renfrew 11-Jun-1937
(High Court of Australia) Cases of mutual wills are only one example of a wider category of cases, for example secret trusts, in which a court of equity will intervene to impose a constructive trust. Latham CJ described a mutual will arrangement as . .
Cited – In re Dale dec’d ChD 1994
The taking of a benefit on the strength of a binding engagement is enough to create a constructive trust. For this doctrine to apply there must be a contract at law. For the doctrine of mutual wills to apply it is not necessary that the second . .
Cited – In re Cleaver dec’d, Cleaver v Insley ChD 1981
Cases of mutual wills are only one example of a wider category of cases, for example secret trusts, in which a court of equity will intervene to impose a constructive trust.
Nourse J said: ‘The principle of all these cases is that a court of . .
Cited – Cooke v New River Co CA 1888
Bowen LJ said that judgments should be given on points that the judge is bound to decide. Deciding more than is necessary could, ‘like the proverbial chickens of destiny’, come home to roost sooner or later. . .
Appeal from – Olins v Walters ChD 19-Dec-2007
A claim was made for the proof of a will and of a codicil as a mutual will.
Norris J said of one witness: ‘I have a deep sense that her evidence is not based upon a real recollection of two brief incidents (putting her signature on a document . .
Cited – Fry v Densham-Smith CA 10-Dec-2010
The parties disputed whether wills made were mutual.
Held: The Court upheld the finding of the judge at first instance that there was an oral agreement between two testators (Denny and Laura, each with a son from a previous marriage, Martin . .
Cited – Legg and Another v Burton and Others ChD 11-Aug-2017
Testing for Mutual Wills
The parties disputed whether wills were mutual. The claimants challenged the probate granted to a later will of their deceased mother, saying that her earlier will had been mutual and irrevocable after the death of their father.
Held: The . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Wills and Probate
Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.270583