Home-made wills, executed without legal advice, are an exceedingly bad idea and if there was ever a case which proved the point it must be that of a woman who intended to leave her £1.8 million fortune to her best friend – but whose wishes were thwarted because her will was not properly witnessed.
There was no doubt that the woman had signed the will herself and the High Court found that she had intended to leave all but £25,000 of her estate to her friend, a woman in her 90s from whom she had been inseparable since childhood. She had understood and approved the contents of the will and, having no children or close family of her own, her generosity was readily explicable.
However, the Court found that there were aspects of the will which excited suspicion. The woman was not present when the home-made will was witnessed by two people who said that they been labouring under the misapprehension that they were signing the will of the main beneficiary. The witnesses had not signed the will in each other’s presence and there was also no evidence that it had been read over to the woman before she appended her own signature.
The Court found that the will had not been properly attested, in accordance with the Wills Act 1837, and was thus invalid. It instead pronounced in favour of an earlier will by which the woman had left her entire estate to four national charities.
By instructing an experienced lawyer, you can shorten the process of obtaining probate and avoid causing unrest among the family. With often large amounts of money at stake, it is safer to leave it in the hands of an experienced lawyer who specialises in probate law and can provide you with the assurance that everything will be handled correctly. The fees of a lawyer are a legitimate expense of the estate.
Should you be involved in a dispute regarding a will it could end up costing you much more than it might have done and adding a significant delay to the process. Askews Legal LLP can offer you a full range of comprehensive Private Client Services for both individuals and Trustees including:
- Preparation of Wills and Advance Directives (Living Wills)
- Inheritance Tax planning during one’s lifetime and on death
- Preparation and Registration of Powers of Attorney
- Administration of Estates and Will Trusts, including related tax issues and the creation of Deeds of Variation
- Creation and administration of Trusts, including Life Interest Trusts, Trusts for Minors and the Disabled, Discretionary Trusts and Personal Injury Trusts
- Court of Protection work
- General advice for the elderly, the incapacitated and their carers
We take pride in getting to know our clients and their families well and are committed to providing them with an expert level of service.
Askews Legal LLP – Experts in the field of Wills, Probate and Trusts in Coventry and Warwickshire.
Contact Sophia Mellor for more details. Click Here or call us on 02476 231000. Confidentiality and discretion assured.