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The dangers of cowboy will writers

View profile for Lee Young
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There are several ways of having a Will written but the most important thing you should consider is if your last wishes will be effective when you die – will your estate be passed onto the people you choose. Incorrectly drawn up Wills are all too often found to be invalid and will be disregarded and this may lead to your estate being treated as if you had died intestate i.e.- without a Will. Under intestacy law your assets will then be divided according to a statutory set of rules which leaves a person’s estate to their next of kin in a fixed order.

Lee Young, Wills & Tax Partner, says “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. Anyone can set 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 main problem areas that the survey encountered were:

• Invalid Wills – unqualified will writers are producing invalid wills due to basic drafting errors and the use of inappropriate standard clauses and errors in designing Trusts

• Hidden fees – many consumers are being duped by wills being advertised at a low cost and then finding there are additional extra hidden costs

• Will writing companies disappearing – there are reported high incidences of this happening. The company goes out of business taking with them the clients’ wills despite the client having paid for ‘safe storage.’

For a free initial meeting please call 01202 499255 and Lee or a member of his team will be happy to discuss any questions you may have.

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