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How To Avoid Being The Victim Of Probate Fraud

When you die, can you be certain loved ones will follow your wishes as stated in your Will? One way you can be confident this will happen is to have a professional solicitor write your Will – and with probate fraud on the increase, the importance of this cannot be overstated.

Homemade Wills are easy to forge, leaving both you and loved ones vulnerable to unscrupulous individuals. It is possible nowadays to write your own Will at home, using software or websites, however doing so can leave you open to forgery.

The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners estimate there to be between £100 and £150 million worth of probate fraud each and every year.

Whether the theft of your estate and assets is perpetrated by organised criminals or family or friends, the outcome is the same – your wishes are not followed and the persons you wanted to inherit your estate no longer do.

Replacement Wills can be easily forged if the original was only made at home, and sometimes the deceased’s family members do not even know that the Will has been changed. For example, if the deceased has two children and has stipulated in his or her Will for one to inherit more than the other, and the Will is found by the child who deems it unfair, the Will could be replaced with a forged one that changes this and the other sibling never knows the truth. When it comes to criminals, data is accessed that reveals the name and details of the deceased so a Will can be convincingly forged that appoints the criminals as Executors, often through a company created by the gang, and gives them full access to the estate.

According to the Court Service data, the number of High Court cases involving disputed Wills increased 175 percent during 2011. To help ensure you don’t become a victim of probate fraud, make sure you have your Will written by a qualified solicitor.

Why Using A Solicitor To Write Your Will Helps

A solicitor can not only provide professional legal advice and guidance on the complex issue of Wills and probate but draft a watertight Will to ensure your wishes are followed after your death.

1. Recorded Wishes

If you write a Will using a solicitor rather than making a homemade Will, there is a proper record of your wishes. You can also state your reasons for the division of your estate.

2. Validated Wishes

A solicitor is able to verify that your Will is genuine if it was drafted professionally.

3. Protected Wishes

When a solicitor helps you draft your Will, the completed document is stored by the solicitor so no individual is able to change it or forge a replacement.

You can ensure your wishes are carried out and your estate divided according to your Will by using a solicitor to draft it for you. To find out more about our Wills and Probate services or for advice on making a Will, contact our team on 0800 988 3674 or email advice@bartletts.co.uk

 

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