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4 August 2015

The perils of a poorly drafted Will

Why spend money on something which will not come into effect until you die? After all, you won't be here to worry about it.

Unfortunately, two-thirds of adults in the UK do not have a Will when they die.  Perhaps more seriously, of the one-third who do make a Will, a high proportion of these documents are invalid, not drafted correctly, or are inappropriate for the situation.

Take the recent case in the High Court of the late Mr Aregbesola.  In 2007, he instructed Barclays Bank Will-Writing Service to prepare him a low cost Will for £90, dealing with substantial assets, including several properties, some of which were overseas.  The Will left half of a London property, which Mr Aregbesola owned with his wife, to be given to his daughter Tinuola Aregbesola.

Mr and Mrs Aregbesola owned the London property in such a way which meant that the property passed automatically to the surviving owner, regardless of what the Will provided.  On Mr Aregbesola’s death, in direct conflict with his wishes in his Will, Tinuola’s stepmother inherited the whole property.

If Barclays Will-Writing Service had carried out the simple formality of severing the joint tenancy when Mr Aregbesola made the Will, Tinuola would have received her half share of the home, as her father had wished.  Instead, she is involved in a High Court battle.

It is not commonly known that will writing companies, including the will-writing division at Barclays, are not regulated.  Will writers are not required to have any legal training or qualifications.  They do not even have to be insured.

As Miss Aregbesola found, cheap does not always end cheerfully.

Whilst a professionally drawn Will may cost more initially, it is important in the long term to ensure that your estate is shared exactly in accordance with your wishes.  It also makes life easier for those that you leave behind.  You also have peace of mind knowing that all solicitors are appropriately regulated and insured.

At Steeles Law, we have a team of experienced and professionally qualified lawyers who will be more than happy to help you with advice about making a Will and other estate planning issues.

How do I start making a Will with Steeles Law?

At Steeles Law, we understand that your Will is probably the most important legal document you will ever sign, so it is vital that you are happy with its content. Our legal practitioners who have many years experience and include Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners members, take the time get to know you and understand your needs. We make drafting a Will as easy and straightforward as possible.

To discuss amending or making a Will, please contact our dedicated Wills, Trusts and Probate team on 01603 59800 or by emailing probate@steeleslaw.co.uk. Appointments are available at our Diss, Norwich and London offices or home visits by appointment.

Will Planner

By completing our Will Planner you can provide us with all your basic personal details and it gives you an idea of the type of questions we will ask you. This means we’re fully prepared before we meet, and we can create your Will as easy as possible.

*The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject, not to provide specific legal advice.

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