A Fail­ure Of Will

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - LETTERS -

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.

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