A Failure Of Will
Your article ‘Where there’s a will’ (September) gives details of how wills are processed, but this doesn’t always seem to work.
My 5x great uncle, William Jackson, made a will in 1775. The main purpose seems to have been to ensure that his two remaining siblings, Joshua and Sarah Grimshaw, did not face financial problems should he die before them. In the event Joshua died in 1775; Aaron, Sarah’s husband, in 1777; and Sarah in 1804. Joshua never married, and Sarah and Aaron had no children.
William’s will also left monies to his surviving relations: nephew James Lister, £300; to James’s sons, James and William, £50 each; and £50 to Rachel, the daughter of his nephew John.
In this 1775 will William leaves all his personal possessions to his assistant, Mary Jones. She had worked with William since his earliest times in Oxford, and he probably looked upon her as an associate who had helped develop the business.
William Jackson died in 1795. When his will went to probate, it was accompanied by a document described as “Will B”, which is not dated, signed or witnessed! The probate officers stated that, as Sarah Grimshaw was his only surviving relative, she should get £10,000, despite the will of 1775 providing for her. Also the sons, James and William, of his nephew James Lister were still alive.
When Sarah died, most of what had been inherited from her brother William was distributed among their mother’s family, as well as £400 to William Lister. Derrick Holt, Oxford
Editor Replies: Thanks Derrick. As your research has revealed, the probate process is not always straightforward.