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.
Please contact us for further details.