Court accepts entry in notebook diary as a valid will

By Lenore Rice

An entry in a woman's diary has been accepted as a valid will by the Edinburgh Sheriff Court, who considered that it clearly expressed her wishes for how her estate should be passed on.

Melanie Gibson died on 7th October 2012 and a notebook diary was subsequently found in which an entry dated 20th January 2012 included the following:

"Please remember. If Anne is still alive, I want her to have my wealthy remains – the house, pension, savings and everything else... [sic]

I hope my family accept this... [sic]

IT IS MY WISH.

Melanie Gibson.”

A previous decision had gone against Anne Hamilton in her efforts to have the note recognised as a testamentary wish, but the Edinburgh Sheriff Court allowed her appeal, saying there was too much reliance on the diary being an informal document in the previous decision.

The Court held that Melanie Gibson's intentions were clearly expressed, were signed, and were reinforced by subsequent notes including when she confirmed that she was of "sound mind and body". Sheriff Prinicpal Stephen said:

"In my view it is difficult to contemplate a will in clearer terms. The meaning of the document in the sense of it being a will is obvious to me and unequivocally sets out her wishes and testamentary intentions.”

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