Low cost Wills can prove to be very costly indeed!
Many Britons are turning to DIY Wills or using low cost Wills services – a recent case highlights the dangers in this. Head of Wills and Probate, Linda Cummins discusses what can be learned from this case.
“A woman is claiming that the Will written by a low cost Will writing service offered by one of the major high street banks has caused her to lose her stake in her father’s home. Her father had used the service to make a Will and in that he instructed that half his London house should be inherited by his daughter on his death. This property was owned by the woman’s father jointly with his wife who was not the woman’s mother. When the man died, because the property was jointly owned it passed wholly to his wife and his daughter did not inherit – which was not what the father wanted.
“This example shows clearly that making a Will can sometimes be a complicated matter, particularly in situations where people remarry and have children from previous relationships. Instructing a solicitor to write a Will means that the solicitor will address any other legal issues that the Will raises. In this situation what should have happened to fulfil the instruction is that the joint tenancy between the father and his second wife should have been severed and they should have become tenants-in-common instead, leaving the way open for the daughter to inherit her father’s half of the house.
“In this case the daughter only had one route to seek redress and that was to sue the bank that prepared the Will. Taking that course of action is not only emotionally costly and stressful but it is also financially costly. In this case, a low cost Will writing service offered by the high street bank may turn out to be very costly indeed.”
Content correct at time of publication