If ever there was a cautionary tale to discourage people from making home-made wills, it must be that of a one-character typing error that triggered a costly High Court dispute about a gift a multi-millionaire’s Spanish villa.
The will took the unusual form of a typed letter to the businessman’s solicitors. There was no evidence as to who had typed it. It contained a purported bequest to his partner of his villa at ‘87 Loma Del Rey’. He in fact had no property at that address, although he did own a villa at 81 Loma Del Rey.
The partner, who had formed a relationship with him following his divorce, argued that it was obvious that an error had been made and that he intended to leave the villa to her. However, his three sons were adamant that the mistake meant that there had been no valid bequest of the villa, which should therefore pass to them as his next of kin.
The sons put forward a theory that the partner had typed the letter and that their father had deliberately given her the wrong address as a ruse so that she would not inherit the property. However, she denied being the typist and the Court noted that there was no evidence to support the sons’ speculations. In those circumstances, the Court declared that the businessman intended to leave the villa to his partner.