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Private Client Section

PAS FAQ: Disclosing information in a disputed will

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What information, if any, can be disclosed about a disputed will?

A former client recently passed away. We are holding an old will for him but not his most recent will, which is held by another firm. His son is looking to contest the most recent will on the grounds of capacity and has asked us to disclose his father’s previous will so that he can establish if he changed the terms of his will. The son was named as an executor and beneficiary of the previous will. What information, if any, can we disclose to the son?

If a will you have prepared is disputed you may be asked to disclose information about the circumstances surrounding its preparation and execution. This may be termed a request for a ‘Larke v Nugus letter’. However, this is not the situation, as the will you prepared is not in dispute.

The right to confidentiality in all the deceased’s client papers, including his will files and old wills, passes to the executors appointed in the latest will. You may wish to seek instructions from the executors by contacting the solicitors who hold the latest will. 

For further information, please see the Law Society’s Practice Notes on Disputed Wills and File Retention: Wills and Probate at www.lawsociety.org.uk/advice/practice-notes.

This FAQ is compiled by the Law Society’s Practice Advice Service telephone 0207 320 5675. Comments relating to it should be sent to Mrs Anjali Mouelhi, Practice Advice Service Manager, The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in the FAQ, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.”

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