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A Tale of Wills

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Jennens v Jennens

Charles Dickens’ famous novel, Bleak House, centred on a fictional case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce. Not many people know, but it was actually based on a number of real life cases that were ongoing during Dickens’ lifetime - most notably the case of Jennens v Jennens. Rosie Wright tells us a story with a valuable lesson…

A bleak story

The case Dickens based Bleak House on concerned a man called William Jennens. He had a Will written in his coat pocket when he died. But it hadn’t been signed, as he’d not taken his glasses to his solicitors and had forgotten to sign it afterwards.

William was said to be Britain’s wealthiest man at the time he died. His estate was estimated to be worth up to £2 million, which in today’s money would be in excess of a whopping £230 million.

The hundred-year Will

William’s estate was disputed and lasted a staggering 117 years. In fact, it only ended because all the money was all spent on legal fees. All because he hadn’t signed his Will.

The moral of the story? It’s so important to make sure you sign your Will and have it witnessed properly, so your estate isn’t disputed like William Jennens.

If you’d like further information about making a Will or would like to arrange an appointment to see one of our Solicitors, please contact us on 01604 828282 or send us a message via our online service.

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