Family Law News Edinburgh

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A DIY Led to Losing “Half a House.”

A daughter is taking legal action against Barclays after she alleged that a botched will from the bank led to her losing half her stake in her late father’s home.

The woman is attempting to secure hundreds of thousands of pounds after she claimed that she lost a valuable stake in a property as a result of the mistake. Barclays have contested the claim despite an assessment by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) which found that the bank was fault. The Ombudsman ordered Barclays to pay "a fair and reasonable settlement" however, this has been ignored by the bank. The case now goes to the High Court.

Low-Cost Will

The move has highlighted the issues that can arise when making a low-cost will.  Ebenezer Aregbesola used Barclays' will-writing service to create a will dealing with his various assets. For £90, he believed he had secured the future of his homes overseas and his property in London. On his death, he wished half of the London home to be given to his daughter, Tinuola Aregbesola. However, the property was owned jointly by Mr Aregbesola and his wife – who was not Tinuola's mother. As a result of this joint ownership and Mr Aregbesola's death in early 2014, the property went wholly to his wife, going directly against the wishes he made clear in his will.

To ensure that his will was carried out correctly, Barclays should have issued a joint tenancy agreement which would have granted his daughter half the property as instructed, however because this was not done, the property now lies with Mr Aregbesola’s wife.

Barclays said in a letter:“The matters raised are the subject of ongoing legal proceedings. It would not be appropriate to comment on the specific points raised. We note that the Financial Ombudsman Service issued its latest decision in relation to the complaint raised by Ms Aregbesola on 19 February 2015. The Financial Ombudsman Service concluded that the matter was outside of the scope of its service."

Danger of DIY Wills

The issue around the Barclays will highlights the danger of DIY wills and cheap alternatives. Many do not wish to pay a significant sum to create a will, and while we understand that many people do not wish to plan for their death, making a legally binding will is one of the most important things that can be done. A will can cost a few hundred pounds but provide you with the peace of mind knowing that your estate is going to be divided how you wish and not be subject to any legal battle or disputes.

If you have complicated family circumstances or have a complex financial relationship, it is imperative that you have a skilled solicitor look over your will to ensure that it is legally solid. Many people think that a DIY will may suffice, however, they can lead to a will being deemed invalid and could result in your estate being divided in a way you do not wish.

Contact Us

If you require legal advice on making a will or if you wish to have your will reviewed by our team of solicitors, contact us today using our online enquiry form.

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