Following on from a piece written by Natasha Booth, from our Lifetime Planning Team, posted in August, when she spoke about the importance of a properly prepared will, we often see the unfortunate results of a will which either does not reflect what was understood to be the wishes of the testator or one which has not been correctly executed, leaving that will invalid.

Many times we are told that the deceased promised to look after a person financially, after their death, which either does not appear in their last will or does but, because the will is invalid, means that the gift given does not go to that person.

Consider a situation where a nephew lives with his elderly, unmarried aunt, who owns her property. He cares for her and they share the finances. She tells him that her house will be his when she dies.

Aunt does not want to spend money getting a solicitor to prepare her will so she does it herself. As promised she leaves her house to her nephew. This is the only will she ever prepares. Following her death it is discovered that the will was not witnessed. What happens then? Well, aunt had no children but does have a sister living abroad, who she has had no contact with for many years. Unfortunately, as the will is invalid, her sister is entitled to the full amount of the estate as she is the next of kin. This is not what the aunt wanted and leaves her nephew without a home.

Nephew can invite the sister to agree that the property goes to him. If she does not agree, as a person who it may be argued was financially maintained by his aunt, he can make a claim under the Inheritance Act 1975. However, the result of such a claim is uncertain.

Whilst aunt saved money preparing the will herself, it has not had the desired effect and her nephew now faces trying to rectify the situation.

If you are concerned about a will, following the death of that person, we may be able to help.

If you require advice, please call one of the offices below, when a member of the Team will arrange for you to speak to either Claire Banks or Kristina Stoddern:

Kirkby – 0151 548 7370

Huyton  – 0151 489 61