A recent case shows that the creation of a valid will in English does not depend on the person creating it being able to speak the language.
The situation arose when a woman’s daughters contested her will, which left everything to her four sons, arguing that it was invalid because its preparation had required the assistance of a translator. The woman spoke Gujarati, but no English, so a family friend had acted as translator to convey her intentions to the English-speaking will writer.
The woman’s daughters argued that their mother did not understand the effect of her will and that she had intended to divide her £200,000 estate equally between her seven children.
Judge David Hodge did not accept their argument, concluding that he was ‘satisfied on the evidence that she did know and approve of the contents of her will’.
It is perfectly possible for a person who speaks no English to create a valid will under English law, provided they understand and approve of its provisions.
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