By Laura Walkley
A recent case which made the headlines is a reminder that unlike solicitors, not every provider of a Will is regulated and required to meet strict professional standards. It was Barclays Bank, in this instance: a reputable financial services provider authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, Barclays’ Will writing division is a separate part of the business and not covered by any regulatory authority.
Mr Aregbesola made a Will in 2007. In it he left his share of a London property that he jointly owned with his wife to his daughter, Tinuola. His wife was not Tinuola’s mother. Upon his death in early 2014, the said property automatically transferred wholly to his wife, under the operation of a ‘joint tenancy’, and in contravention to his express wishes. It is alleged that Barclays failed to sever the joint tenancy agreement, which would have enabled half of the property’s value to pass as instructed to Mr Aregbesola’s daughter. The matter is currently being heard at great time and expense in the High Court.
Leaving the technical arguments to one side, the case highlights the dangers of Wills being prepared by Will Writers as opposed to qualified solicitors. In this case, the Will cost £90. Spending a little more (but still a fraction of the costs of the overall estate) ensures the Will is created by a qualified solicitor, who is insured and regulated, so providing a recourse path in the event of any complaint.
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