Payne Hicks Beach

Payne Hicks Beach

18 October 2021

Wills in the public eye

Emily Woods and David Whitworth, Senior Associate and Trainee respectively in Payne Hicks Beach's top ranked Private Client department, explore the factors considered by Sir Andrew Macfarlane in reaching his recent judgment to seal Prince Philip's Will in a recent article published in ePrivateclient online on 14 October 2021 and reproduced by kind permission.  The clear cut public interest in protecting the 'dignity and integrity of the sovereign' was key to Sir Andrew's minimum 90 years of privacy ruling. However, as the vast majority of Wills remain public documents, these considerations highlight increasing concerns around protecting not just the privacy of testators but also the interests of those named as legatees, particularly those who may be at risk of harassment. Whilst the sealing of Wills is uncommon, they remain public documents: lawyers can advise on Letters of Wishes which enable certain details to be kept confidential. (paywall)

For further information please contact Emily Woods by email or alternatively telephone on 020 7465 4300


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This publication is not intended to provide a comprehensive statement of the law and does not constitute legal advice and should not be considered as such. It is intended to highlight some issues current at the date of its preparation. Specific advice should always be taken in order to take account of individual circumstances and no person reading this article is regarded as a client of this firm in respect of any of its contents.

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