When is a Will not a Will?

The answer is when it is not yours to give!

You may have seen the article in the Telegraph last month, about Ebenezer Aregbesola who, in 2007, used Barclays £90 Will-writing service. In the Will he left his half of his home to his daughter Tinuola, with his wife (not Tinuola’s mother) owning the balance.

However, it emerged that Aregbesola and his wife owned the property as joint tenants. Under accession rules, the joint owner of a house inherits it automatically, regardless of what is in the Will.

What Barclays should have done was to sever the tenancy on the property so that Mr Aregbesola’s share of the house could be passed to his daughter on his death. This was not done – presumably because it was a cut-price Will-writing service and did not provide advice. Barclays are refusing to comment, as the case is ongoing at the High Court.

The lesson is clear – you don’t know what you don’t know. If you don’t know how your house is registered at the land registry, how can you possibly set up a Will that passes it correctly? Thinking about it, are there other things that may affect how your Will works? Of course there are. That’s why you pay a reasonable fee to have a reasonable job done. After all, if you have a home worth, say, £500,000 or more, wouldn’t it be worth spending a couple of hundred pounds to make sure it goes to the right person on your death? We have lost count of the number of DIY Wills we have seen that cause more problems than they solve.

If you know someone who needs to have their Will checked or reviewed please feel free to pass on our details. We provide estate planning services through our sister business Cavendish Wills & Trusts www.cavendishwillstrusts.com please contact us on 01793 881602 for further information.