Will written on scrap of paper in bar secures inheritance for unmarried partner

A web designer who refused to let her partner of 16 years go paragliding without writing a will says she would have lost £400,000 were it not for the will written in a Turkish hotel and witnessed by two barmen.

In 2004, Sue Singer, 56, and her partner Paul Dixon were staying in Ölüdeniz, a resort south-east of Marmaris, when Mr Dixon decided to go paragliding above the shoreline.

Ms Singer told The Telegraph: “He really wanted to go paragliding but I said that he wasn’t to do it without having written a will.”

Paul wrote the will on a scap of paper in the bar, with two waiters able to witness it. However they did not include their full names and addresses and therefore, according to the probate office, was invalid.

The will was forgotten but not long after, Mr Dixon was diagnosed with lung cancer and died not long after. She consulted her partner’s accountant – who had already been assisting with preparing his will – about what she should do, as she was placed in a difficult situation as there was no other valid will.

Sue continued: “I had the details of the hotel but I had no idea if the people who witnessed it would be there. I found a Turkish lawyer and he rang the hotel.

“The barmen were not at work that day but the hotel called me back later to say that they remembered us and they remembered agreed to go to a notary and fill in the missing sentence.

“The nearest notary who was qualified was in Istanbul – I paid for the cost of the flight, accommodation and time missed off work.”

“Our house was worth about £280,000, we had two studios together as well and the business, so I would probably have lost about £400,000 and been homeless if the Turkish will hadn’t existed.”

Carol Cheesman, from Cheesmans Accountants, who were preparing the new will, said: “I think it’s critical that there is a will in place if you’re unmarried as you never know what’s round the corner.

“I knew that these were his wishes but even though we had a final draft of the will this was not seen as legal without his signature.”

Today's Wills and Probate