When writing your Will, were all the formalities taken care of?


Barclays Bank is being sued by the daughter of the late Mr Ebenezer Aregbesola on the basis of a botched Will which deprived Miss Tinuola Aregbesola of her share of her late father’s London home.

On preparing his Will, the deceased asked that his half share of the home was left to his daughter rather than his wife, her stepmother. However, because the property was held by Mr and Mrs Aregbesola as joint tenants, unless the tenancy is severed, the property passes to the survivor on death, not under the Will.

Barclays failed to notice this and did not sever the joint tenancy. The Financial Ombudsman Service who originally upheld Miss Aregbesola’s complaint, described the severance as “a simple formality”.

The property has now passed to Mrs Aregbesola, the stepmother of Tinuola and can be disposed of as Mrs Aregbesola feels fit, under the terms of her own Will and she can exclude her stepdaughter completely if she wishes.

The Ombudsman called for Barclays to “come up with a settlement that would fairly and reasonably resolve the complaint”. However, Barclays has said that as their will-writing division is not regulated, they do not have to adhere to the Ombudsman’s findings.

Institutions such as Barclays often offer Will writing services at an extremely discounted rate, this is because they aim to profit off fees generated by administering the estate as executors, after the testator’s death. Will writing companies can often minimise costs, as they needn’t have insurance, practising certificate fees, training requirements, and the red tape that goes along with regulation.

Consumers should be aware that while they can often find a cheaper service, they do not have the same protections they would gain from a regulated law firm. Solicitors’ firms are required to have insurance in place so that in the event of a successful claim due to negligence when drafting the Will, clients will be able to claim compensation. With unregulated bodies, the option is not always there and can cause great stress at an already difficult time for loved ones of the deceased.

If you are contemplating writing or updating your Will, we can help to ensure that your wishes are upheld and your estate goes where you wish.

A version of this article appeared on http://www.todayswillsandprobate.co.uk/woman-alleges-barclays-cheap-will-lost-her-entitlement-to-father-s-home-cms-255

If you need advice, please call our experienced and friendly team on 01473 611211 or email bg@barkergotelee.co.uk