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  • In Middleton v Schofield, the NSW Supreme Court recently considered the proper construction of a will and how admissible extrinsic evidence can be used to construe a will.
  • The decision serves as a timely reminder of the importance of making detailed file notes of the testator’s instructions, retaining drafts of wills and reading the will to the testator.

The facts of Middleton v Schofield [2022] NSWSC 1454 concern the construction of the will of the late Allan Edgar Bell who died on 3 March 2022, leaving a last will and testament made on 30 August 2018. The plaintiffs in the proceedings, Phillip Paul Middleton and Chloe Elizabeth Middleton, are the beneficiaries of a specific devise of real property known as ‘Caringa’,  pursuant to clause 4(j) of the will.

The key issue in the proceedings

The Court was required to examine and consider clause 4 of the will:

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