Wills – Handle with care!

Andrew Jack, Probate and Wills Solicitor considers the need for appointing a qualified legal specialist when it comes to making your Will.

Let me begin with a cautionary tale of an estate in which I was recently involved.

In this case a married couple had had their Wills prepared by a Will writing company. Superficially the Wills looked very professional and achieved everything the clients were presumed to want.

Problems, however, came to light when the first spouse died. The Will purported to place half the matrimonial home into a trust for the surviving spouse. Whilst this is common practice for both tax planning and asset preservation for children, it would appear that the Will writer either did not check or did not understand the title deeds. The home was not owned in joint names and therefore, the Will could not achieve the desired results.

This is not the first time I have come across this sort of problem. What is most worrying is that individuals are often unaware that Will writers are not currently regulated, nor is there any formal mechanism for complaint and redress if things go wrong. Although there may be VERY rare instances where Solicitors get it wrong, the difference between a Solicitor and a Will writer is that we are legally trained, robustly regulated and covered by indemnity insurance. Will writers are often uninsured.

Law Society research has found that some Will writers are offering low cost Wills but in reality the customer was getting a much larger bill at the end. In some cases Will writers are appointing themselves as executors and offering further services for which they are not trained or regulated such as Lasting Powers of Attorney, obtaining probate, conveyancing and even tax advice at additional cost.

So, if this article strikes a chord, don’t leave it until after your death for your Will to be tested out! Bills to remedy mistakes can run into thousands of pounds and some unintended consequences can not be put right at all.

Take advice from a solicitor now.

Andrew and his colleagues offer a free check of all Wills to ensure their accuracy and suitability. Contact Andrew on 0117 9898518 or email andrewjack@amdsolicitors.com

This article is provided for general information purposes only and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at the date of uploading. This article should not be relied upon as legal advice pertaining to any specific factual situation. Legal decisions should be made only after proper consultation with a legal professional of your choosing.

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