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How to avoid electrocuting your wife

View profile for Mark Jones
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How to avoid electrocuting your wife

Back in the 1930s when electricity was first transforming the lives of housewives everywhere, a company in America that specialised in the provision of household appliances began to use a new advertising slogan. It read ‘Don’t let housework kill your wife. Let electricity do it’. 

Now, I would like to think that they meant ‘let electricity do the housework’ but I can’t entirely discount the possibility that this company was thinking of branching out from fridges and washing machines to electric chairs for disgruntled husbands.  Perhaps they did a special deal if at the same time as buying your electric chair you also ordered the chest freezer to stash the body. 

What this illustrates is that the English language can be a dangerous thing. The meaning of your words might not always be what you intended.  What starts as an innocent attempt to shift a few Hoovers can turn into a life sentence for incitement to commit murder. 

This is why I would always recommend that you should use a solicitor when the meaning of words is important. This is particularly the case for legal documents, because the legal meaning of words can differ from common usage. Over the years, I have often come across homemade documents with expensive and unintended consequences. 

One family ended up in court battling over the Will of their father who left his estate equally to his children.  The point he overlooked was that two of the five children he had brought up as his own were, in fact, his stepchildren. 

I have come across homemade conveyancing documents which were based on hand drawn plans which bore no resemblance to the true boundaries of the property concerned.  I have also come across a case where a person drew up their own commercial agreement with a company but instead of naming the company as a party to the document, they named the individual at the company with whom they happen to be corresponding. The document wasn’t worth the paper it was handwritten on. It was not binding on the company and the individual named in it could never carry out its terms. 

When it comes to legal documents, such as Wills, use a properly qualified legal professional such as a solicitor or chartered legal executive. We go through several years of training to understand the precise legal meaning of the language we use. Find out more about how we can ensure your Will correctly reflects your wishes.

Our articles are intended for general information purposes only and are not a substitute for professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. We are always very happy to discuss any plans, issues or concerns you may have and to clarify how we might be able to help. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.