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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Friday 26 August 2016


It's not a good idea to prepare a will for someone else when it says you will scoop most of their property. In a case last week, the High Court ripped up the will of an accident victim who had been awarded over £1 million in damages. The judge was satisfied that the victim had not sufficiently understood its contents.

The will had been drawn up by the victim's live-in carer who was paid by the local authority and gave the carer 95% of the estate. It had not been read out to the victim and gifts to family members and charities which had been made in a first will nine months earlier had been completely removed. Under the court's order, the earlier will takes effect.

In the world of wills there's too much scope for underhand activity - new wills being drawn up at the behest of those who exercise too much influence and wills going missing so that a previous will is implemented or the intestacy laws kick into action as they apply when there is supposedly no will.  

A will can be deposited with the Probate Registry and kept there for a one-off fee of £20. That cuts down the opportunities for fraudulent activity after your death. An earlier will can't make it and neither can a claim that there was no will.