Short Video Introduction To The Blog By Bob Cullen ASWW

Writing or re-writing your Will is an important step. Clearly you need a Will that is right for your circumstances and, more now than ever, that requires specialist advice. Sometimes a Will causes surprise or disappointment. Perhaps the provisions are unexpected. A wealthy American once began his Will with “To my wife I leave her lover and the knowledge that I was not the fool she took me to be”. One can only imagine the reaction. Normally, though, surprise and disappointment is not what is intended. You need your Will to do exactly what is required and that is the subject of this blog.

There are many “cheap” Will writing services offering to write your Will for so little that it should be clear they cannot make any money. That tells us something must be happening that we can’t immediately see. It might mean a hidden cost in terms of a badly written Will or “additional essential services” that could end up costing more than using a reputable firm. Perhaps both. We see so much in the media about firms using “dodgy tactics” that you might think we have all learned our lesson. Sadly that does not seem to be the case.

Below you will find examples of problems that can arise. Alternatively, you can head straight to the Will Writing page of our website using the following link.

Problems With Wills Can And Do Arise:

Here are some examples that I have come across personally of small errors that lead to big problems.

Problem A:

We’ve bought a house and we’ve made our Wills. Now let’s get married”. If you have married or entered a civil partnership with a person since you made your Will then this revoked your Will unless the Will was written “in contemplation” of your marriage or civil partnership to that person. I remember meeting with a couple who said their Wills were out of date. They had made them before they were married, when they bought a house together. I asked them how long they had been married and they said “17 years”. Their previous Wills had not been written “in contemplation” of marriage although they said the solicitor knew of their intention. They were upset that their Wills had ceased to be valid 17 years previously when they said “I do”. 

Problem B:

“We need to make our Wills. Let’s start by choosing Executors. What could possibly go wrong?!” Even how Executors are appointed can lead to problems. I was asked to prepare a Will but declined being closely related to a principal beneficiary (conflict of interest). I remained unaware of the Will and how it had been drafted until after one of the couple passed away. Each appointed the other as Executor unless the other had already died in which case it would be their children.  

The local solicitor who drafted the Will simply did what the clients instructed with no further thought or advice. What their Wills should have said is that if the other one of them was “unable or unwilling” to act then the children would act in their place. This wording should always be used. It allows not just for one of them having already died but also for the survivor being unable to act. This might be due to the frailty of old age or loss of mental capacity. And that is exactly what happened. The survivor had lost mental capacity. The wording used failed to appoint the children in those circumstances.  

This error resulted in a big problem as it left the estate without executors.  Seemingly the solicitor who wrote the Will just followed instructions instead of thinking about it and giving advice. After all, they were the professionals and should have guided the clients. Mistakes are more common if Wills are not the main part of their work. The death occurred in tragic circumstances and the family were ill-equipped emotionally to deal with problem. Resolving the situation involved delays and additional expense at the worst possible time.

So What Should I Do?

It is important that you talk to someone who is trained and experienced in writing Wills or you may not get the advice you need.  In my own opinion (whether you use a solicitor or a Will writing firm), if the person who writes the Will is not the person who has sat with you and taken the instructions then problems are more likely to arise. It is better if the person inserting the legal clauses in your Will has discussed the matter with you personally. Not all Will writing services work that way.

When you use Professional Will Services you deal directly with a specialist in Wills, Trusts and Lasting Power of Attorney. You will be guided smoothly through the whole process with appropriate advice to ensure that your Will is right for your situation. An initial telephone chat, which can be as detailed as it needs to be, is available by telephone or video call. It is provided entirely free of charge and without obligation. 

Just call our Helpline 01373 471117 or check our many testimonials on our website using the following link.

Bob Cullen ASWW

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