The Supreme Court has an inherent power to remove from a will, language that is considered to be “scandalous, offensive, defamatory or blasphemous”.
In Re Welsh, the deceased’s Will stated he had made no provision for his wife as their marriage had broken down, they lived separately and that “she is a compulsive and addicted gambler.” The executors applied to remove words from the will that they considered were offensive.
Gray J found that whilst the words are not directly dispositive in nature, they did serve an important testamentary purpose: they provided a further explanation as to why the deceased chose not to make a disposition to his wife. Further, the words were not used gratuitously and they did not appear to have been put in the will for the purpose of injuring the wife’s reputation. The words did not amount to an abuse of process as they were primarily directed at providing reason for the dispositions contained in the will and did not go outside that purpose.
Read Re Welsh here.