Anyone can set themselves up as a Will writer and charge money for this service. They do not have to have any legal training or qualifications. A survey by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) of their members, found that there was a ‘significant problem in the UK will-writing market of incompetence and dishonesty’. The recent case of Keith Webber has highlighted the problem again. Mr. Webber was convicted of defrauding four elderly clients of £280,000 by Bristol Crown Court. Mr Webber’s offences started in 2009 – his first victim being his sister-in-law. He also wrote Wills for his clients appointing himself as executor and his wife as the main beneficiary of their Wills.
Head of Wills & Tax, Lee Young says, “There are several ways of having a Will written – incorrectly drawn up Wills are all too often found to be invalid and will be disregarded. This may lead to your estate being treated as if you had died intestate, ie – without a Will.” Under the rules of intestacy your assets would then be divided according to a statutory set of rules which leaves a person’s estate to their next of kin in a rigidly fixed order.
A ‘Will Pack’ purchased from a stationers enables you to write your own Will but these are only effective in the simplest of cases – where no property is owned and there are no beneficiaries under the age of eighteen. The smallest error or misunderstanding of the use of legal terms can cause disputes or the Will to be invalid.
Your Will is a most important document, it sets out your last wishes and provides for your loved ones. Is it worth taking a chance on?
We have offices in the Christchurch, New Milton and the New Forest. Our Wills & Tax team also coverBournemouth and Poole. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Lee or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.