(All names have been changed)

There are numerous horror stories on the willwriting circuit of cases where Wills have gone wrong, or the lack of Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney have caused serious problems for families.

One horror story that I like to think I helped avert is a case I often think about. It involved Roy and Mary, a married couple in their 70s who told me they had two daughters.

In another world, Roy and Mary wrote their own Wills or engaged a willwriter who simply took it as face value that they wanted to leave their money and property to “our daughters”, and wrote “my daughters” in each Will, rather than specifying their names, Kate and Donna.

However, when I met Roy and Mary to discuss their Wills, the routine question “Are both of your daughters from both of you?” established that Kate was actually Mary’s daughter from her first marriage. Although Roy had been her father in every meaningful way since Kate had been a young girl, legally she was not his daughter.

Later, another routine question uncovered that Roy had three children from his own first marriage, though he had not seen any of them for 30 years. Two of these children were daughters.

So if Roy and Mary’s Wills had each said “my daughters”, for Mary there would have been no problem as Kate and Donna would have inherited, however for Roy it would have excluded Kate but included his two daughters from his first marriage. This was obviously not Roy’s intention.

Even once the Wills were written properly, we still took steps in and alongside the Will to discourage Roy’s estranged children from potentially challenging his Will in the future. Although it is unlikely such a challenge would succeed, it would result in stress that his family would not need as their were mourning his loss.

Anybody can write a Will (and sadly there are many cowboys who do), however a professional service like Lakes Wills Ltd will write a Will that has the best chance of ensuring your wishes become reality.

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