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Beware of the DIY Will

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Beware of the DIY Will

A few people choose the ‘cheap and cheerful’ route to putting a plan in place to leave behind their wishes in the event of their death. Unfortunately, as we have learned from this case, choosing not to sit with a qualified Solicitor, like our team at Franklins, can have some serious consequences.

Barclays are being taken to Court by a lady arguing she should be compensated after claiming their will-writing service is responsible for her losing a share in her father’s London property.

In 2007 Ebenezer Aregbesola used Barclays’ £90 will-writing service to make a Will. Within his Will Mr Aregbesola gifted half of his London home to his daughter, Miss Aregbesola.

However, Mr Aregbesola jointly owned the property with his wife, (his wife was not Miss Aregbesola’s mother). The property was held by them as ‘joint tenants’ which means that on his death the property passed by survivorship automatically to his wife. This happens despite any contrary wishes within the Will.

If he wished to gift his share of the property by Will, the property title should have been ‘severed’ by Barclays, which would have allowed the gift to take effect. However, as this had not been done Mr Aregbesola's widow is legally entitled to the whole property which she can now gift as she pleases.

This case highlights the danger of low cost ‘do it yourself’ wills which are often too simplistic to reflect accurately the testator’s wishes, but are worryingly becoming increasingly more common.

Where parents remarry and enter into property transactions with their new spouse, Wills leaving assets to children of former relationships need to be checked thoroughly by a solicitor. There are many different options to allow people to provide for new spouses, but to also ensure their children from a previous relationship are not left out or excluded. Furthermore, it is worth also mentioning that marriage automatically revokes a Will unless specifically provided for.

I always recommend to my clients that they review their Will every three to four years, or earlier, especially if their circumstances change.

If you have recently re-married, or haven’t yet drafted your Will, feel free to contact me to arrange an appointment. I will give you some guidance as the types of information I will need from you as well as the questions I will ask as part of the process of drawing up your Will.

If you are looking to revise your Will, please do bring your existing Will with you when you come to see me. You can contact me on 01908 660 966 or by email on Kathryn.thornewill@franklins-sols.co.uk.

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

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