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Beware the Danger of Low-cost Wills

A woman is seeking hundreds of thousands of pounds compensation from Barclays, claiming the bank's will-writing service resulted in her losing a stake in a valuable London home. Barclays are contesting the claim and the matter has now gone to the High Court.

The Facts

In 2007 Ebenezer Aregbesola used Barclays' £90 will-writing service to create a will dealing with his various assets including homes overseas and in London. His will instructed half of the London home to be given to his daughter, Tinuola Aregbesola, on his death. The property was owned by Mr Aregbesola and his wife – who was not Tinuola's mother as Joint Tenants, soon Mr Aregbesola's death in early 2014, the property went wholly to his wife – in contravention of the wishes spelt out in the will.

In order for the will's conditions to have been fulfilled, the Tenancy should have been severed to have enabled half of the property's value to pass as instructed to Tinuola. Because this severance process was not carried out, the joint tenant, Mr Aregbesola's widow, is legally entitled to the whole property which she can now bequeath as she pleases. This has left Tinuola with no option but to risk her own money fighting a High Court case in order to get, what on the face of it, should rightfully be hers. Whether she succeeds or not remains to be seen.

Getting it Right

The case highlights the danger of popular, cheap "DIY" wills which are often too simplistic to reflect accurately their owner's wishes. We would always strongly recommend that when choosing to have a will drawn up, that you seek the correct professional assistance in order to ensure your wishes are carried out to your order.

For expert advice on wills and succession, contact our experienced Private Client Team.

Please read Reliance on information posted in our Terms of Website Use - see Legal section - before relying on this commentary.

Before relying on this commentary please read the Reliance on information posted section in our Terms of Website Use in our Legal section. Please note that specialist advice should be taken in relation to any specific queries and the information above is provided for general information purposes only.

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Our Experts

Lesley Rushton

Managing Partner
Wills, Tax & Estate Administration

Charlotte Nock

Head of Department
Wills, Tax & Estate Administration

Louise Wilson

Wills, Tax & Estate Administration

Ovid Busette

Senior Associate Solicitor
Wills, Tax & Estate Administration

Poppy Cooke

Associate Solicitor
Wills, Tax & Estate Administration

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