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Why it is important for a lawyer to draft your Will

Helen Vorley, F.CILEx Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in Astle Paterson’s Wills & Probate department discusses the reasons why it is important for a lawyer to draft your Will.

Helen said, “A pending High Court case illustrates the importance of checking that provisions contained in a Will are capable of being put into effect.

In the case of Aregbesola v Barclays Bank Plc, Mr A made a Will in 2007 in which he had specified that ½ of the property he owned in London was to go on his death to his daughter Mrs T.

However, Mr A owned the property jointly with his Wife who was not Mrs T’s mother.

As Mr A and his wife owned the property as joint tenants and not as tenants in common, when Mr A died in 2014, the whole of the London house passed by survivorship to his Wife and therefore the provision in the Will gifting ½ of it to Mrs T was no longer valid.

It is of note that Mr A had prepared his Will by using a low cost Will writing service offered by Barclays Bank Plc.

To enable the gift in the Will to have taken effect, Barclays Bank should have undertaken a relatively straight-forward process of Severing the Joint Tenancy – however, this was overlooked by Barclays Bank and Mrs T lost the ½ share in the London house valued at £100,000.00’s her father wished her to have.

Whilst Mrs T originally complained to the Financial Ombudsman Service and they upheld her complaint, Barclays Bank declined to follow the ruling on the basis that their Will writing division is not regulated by the Financial Services Ombudsman and is therefore not bound by the Financial Ombudsman’s findings.

Mrs T has therefore been forced to pursue the matter through the Courts.”

Helen concluded “I am aware that different institutions offer Will writing services – indeed, you can buy ‘DIY’ Will making kits for a nominal fee.

However, this case illustrates the need to employ specialist lawyers who have the expertise to advise clients making or updating their Will.

Making a Will is not always a straight-forward matter.

At Astle Paterson we have the specialist lawyers who are able to help you make a Will that will mean your wishes are carried out on your death and your loved ones are looked after.”

Please contact Helen Vorley of Astle Paterson’s Wills & Probate department on either 01283 531366 or by way of email at hvorley@astlepaterson.co.uk to discuss matters further.

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