Expression Of Wishes Letter

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jaycee401 | 09:44 Tue 04th Feb 2014 | Civil
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I am in the middle of a contested will dispute. The person disputing the will is now alleging that there was an expression of wishes letter made by the testator about 20 years ago stating that his private pension on his death should be split 50/50 between the disputer and the widow. Upon the testators death a death certificate was given to the pension company who also asked if there was a widow and was subsequently give her details. The company phoned the widow and informed her she was entitled to the pension. This was all handled through our solicitor as she is also dealing with the probate side of things (no inheritance tax due). Our solicitor is now to contact the company again and ask if they are in receipt of this EOW letter. Surely if they had of been would they not have acted on it and paid the pension as per the wishes? If no letter exists is there any way the disputer can force the 50/50 split? Also if the dispute reaches court, could the judge insist that he does receive the 50/50. We have searched the testators paperwork to see if we can find such a document but cannot see anything, but if such document could be produced but had never given to the pension company could it still be acted upon by the disputer? Hope all this makes sense!


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When a member of a pension scheme dies, the trustees of the scheme have complete discretion as to how the proceeds are distributed among the deceased's relatives and dependants. They will take a nomination or expression of wish into account, but they are not bound by it. Their decision can only be challenged in law if it flies in the face of what is reasonable.
If you have a solicitor dealing with it it's probably best to leave him/her to get on with it. The devil is often in the detail and hopefully your solicitor has the necessary detailed information.
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the solicitor is going to write to the company and see what their policy is.
I am sure the devil is in the detail

[ NHS pension I know you can assign the lump sum but I think the widows bit goes to er the widow ( or bereaved civil p ) ] When I assigned the lump sum. they gave me a receipt ( for the letter of wishes or deed of assignment ) and it was stamped. Then when I ended the assignment -I did kinda worry that they might not have got the message it was unwound.....Clearly you dont end the assignment just by destroying your bit -[ like you can for a will ]
I am sorry there is a dispute at this sorry time for you.

It a pity that the contestor cant look at the will - and say yes I agree that this will is the final version of the old man's wishes....

Remember she has to show what she is alleging - you dont have to disprove what she says has taken place
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Thanks Peter, the old man will be turning in his grave, his so called son had noting to do with him, but now he has died he is suddenly the most important thing in his life. He is saying we duped the guy into making him change his original will made 25 yrs a which left everything to son and the new will leaves him nothing plus a letter explaining why. The solicitor is now contacting the pension people, mum thinks there may be some paperwork in attic and she seems to remember him filling something out but then doing nothing with it. I am an honest person and if found I will give it to the solicitor and keep fingers crossed that because the company never received it they won't act on it. Do you happen to know if they do accept it, then as sole executor I would have to honour it, would this be brought up in the court if the will dispute ends up there and would it be granted straight away or would he have to wait until the dispute is sorted. Even though I am sole executor all the accounts etc are frozen until the dispute is resolved. Is it down to me to honour it or the pension company?
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Found it, its a death in service expression of wishes, so seeing as he didn't die in service I presume it's irrelevant!
Certainly sounds like it, jaycee. A letter of wishes is just that, wishes not a direction, and is only rarely enforceable on grounds of equity, but here it seems not only wishes but wishes confined to certain circumstances which no longer exist, a condition to their taking or having effect which no longer applies.
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Thanks Fred. I emailed the solicitor and she is double checking with the company, I suppose e needs to cover her back. But it certainly seems as you say. Many thanks to all, much appreciated and a big help!

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