In 2002, Mr Ikin made a Will declaring himself to be domiciled in New South Wales, Australia and leaving his estate to his nephew, various friends, two goddaughters and three Australian charities.
In April or May 2008, shortly after commencing a relationship with Mr Despallieres, Mr Ikin drafted a new Will, revoking his former Will. This new Will purported to leave his entire estate to his partner. In October 2008, Mr Ikin and Mr Despallieres entered into a civil partnership. On 12th November 2008, Mr Ikin died unexpectedly.
In accordance with the Will in his favour, Mr Despallieres obtained a Grant. The beneficiaries under the original Will sought to challenge the validity of the second Will, arguing that it was a forgery, that Mr Ikin had remained domiciled in New South Wales and that as a consequence of the civil partnership, the second Will had been automatically revoked, not having been made in expectation of a civil partnership.
The initial question to be answered was – had Mr Ikin made the second Will in contemplation of his forthcoming civil partnership?
It was held that on a proper construction of the wording of the relevant sections of the later will (“… my last Will and Testament shall not be revoked by neither subsequent marriage, Civil Union Partnership nor adoption.”) there was nothing to suggest that Mr Ikin actually expected to form a civil partnership or, a civil partnership specifically with Mr Despallieres. The earlier grant of probate relating to the later Will was therefore revoked and the earlier Will consequently governed the administration of Mr Ikin’s estate.