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Cutting Corners when drafting a Will can lead to disputes

View profile for Laura Pracy
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Seeking professional advice from a reputable law firm when preparing your Will or Trust documents is so important.  People leave things to loved ones in their Will to recognise the significant place they had in their lives or in gratitude for what they did.

Whether it's spouses, partners, children, grandchildren, other relatives or friends, people leave money and possessions to individuals or groups feeling reassured that their wishes are carried out once they have passed away.

As reported recently by Law Gazette, a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard of a Solicitor who used his legal secretary to sign documents as a witness as if it had been signed in the office when in fact the client had not been present. Sadly this didn’t just happen once but on numerous occasions over a two year period.  Thinking he was helping his clients, the Solicitor in question thought that by doing this it would speed the process up for his clients however this left his clients exposed to the document being potentially invalid.

To execute a valid Will, section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 requires that when signing your Will, it must be witnessed in the presence of at least two witnesses present at the same time.

Will Writing Advice

“We cannot stress enough the importance of professional advice when making your Will.  Knowing that a Will has been professionally drafted gives you reassurance that your Will is not open to challenge after your death”, advises Joanne Jones, Head of Wills Trust, Tax and Probate Team.

At Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers, we offer a range of Will writing services. Every client (new and existing) can benefit from a FREE Will review. This enables people to get all the advice and recommendations they need to make an informed choice about their Will and other important issues such as tax planning, asset protection and Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Contesting a Will

Laura Pracy, Head of Inheritance and Wills Disputes, says, “Coping with bereavement and grief is difficult enough without having to challenge the validity or contents of a Will. Contesting a Will can be so distressing for families. We often deal with cases where a person has executed a homemade Will and because it has not been executed correctly is found to be invalid. This can also often result in expensive legal proceedings.”

For further information or advice on contesting a Will please contact our Inheritance and Will Disputes Team or if you need advice on drafting or reviewing a Will contact our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Team or call us on 0161 785 3500.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.