Saturday, 3 October 2015

A problem with a cheap will ... beware !

A short post today to highlight a recent case concerning wills - Solicitor's Journal - Where there's a will 29th September

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 jointly by Mr Aregbesola and his wife – who was not Tinuola's mother. Because of the joint ownership, on Mr Aregbesola's death in early 2014, the property went wholly to his wife – contrary to the will.

"Joint ownership" of a home can be achieved in two ways: Joint tenancy or Tenancy-in-Common.  If A and B own the home on a joint tenancy then they will each own the entire property.  If A and B own as tenants in common, then each will own a specified share - for example, half-each (or some other specific shares).

It seems that Mr and Mrs Aregbesola owned as joint tenants and so, when Mr Aregbesola died, his wife owned the entire home.  His will could not therefore pass a half-share to his daughter.

There is a quite straightforward process by which a joint tenancy may be severed so that each may own a specific share.  That ought to have been done at the time Mr Aregbesola made his will.  That step would have made his will effective to pass his share of the house to his daughter.

How a £90 will by Barclays lost half my house - Telegraph 21st June.  The Financial Ombudsman service can be a very useful port of call for those having problems with financial service providers such as the banks or insurers.

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