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02nd July 2013

Will-Writing Company makes invalid Will

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Will someone who holds themselves out as a Will writer be suitable to make your Will? In a case earlier this year (Schrader v. Schrader) a Will Writing Company made a Will for an elderly lady which favoured the son on whom she depended for her daily care (Nick) over her other son.

Not unreasonable? The Court found the circumstances suspicious and overturned the Will.

A key factor in the Court’s decision was its finding that the Will-writer was “procedure-driven” and lacked “the experience of a seasoned solicitor”. A solicitor would be expected to be aware of the risks involved in this type of situation and to take steps to ensure that the Will was valid – such as a clear discussion and attendance note (which was not part of the Will-writer’s routine).

Unfortunately for Nick the choice of a Will-writer has had two downsides for him: the first is that he loses the benefit his mother might well have intended for him, the second is that the Company is unlikely to have any duty of care to make good the loss, nor any insurance to fund it.

Independent reports consistently recommend using a Solicitor to prepare your Will, in particular one who specialises, as indicated by having the letters TEP after their name. TEP is the designation for a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. It should not be confused with the self-applied title “trust and estate practitioner”, which can be used by anyone who is unqualified – and often is.

For further information please contact Carolyn Bagley on 01604 233233 or click here to email Carolyn.