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Country sitting on wills time bomb warns local Staines experts

Hundreds of thousands of wills may have been written incorrectly leaving a potential ‘time bomb’ for families across the UK, warns a Staines legal expert.

Patrick Cotran, of Dale & Newbery, said many cheap wills purchased on the internet could be unfit for purpose potentially causing lengthy and costly legal battles for many family members and other loved ones.

“It’s a great concern that we really could be sitting on a wills time bomb,” said Mr Cotran.

“There could be hundreds of thousands of people, if not more, who have written wills that really are not fit for purpose,” he added.

Mr Cotran, a solicitor for over 20 years, said he believed the Government’s refusal to make will-writing a reserved legal activity two years ago, open only to qualified legal experts could prove to be a grave error.

“The fact is that the Legal Services Board carried out an extensive investigation in 2013 and concluded that will writing has to be treated as a specialist skill open only to solicitors, but the Lord Chancellor went against this advice,” he said.

“Will writing can often be technically challenging yet anyone can claim to be a qualified will writer as there is no real qualification process,” he said.

“The vast majority of online will services follow a simple template that don’t take into account the complexities of the modern family and other issues,” he added.

“However, the mistakes will not come to light for a long time.”

He said anyone concerned should see a trusted local solicitor that specialises in wills and added that all wills should be revisited periodically to ensure they are up to date.

“It is heart-breaking the stress and problems a poorly drafted will can cause,” he added.

“We urge the public to sit up and take notice because they clearly need protection, which, at present, just isn’t there.”