Successful Claim Against Will Writer for Negligent Advice and Badly Drafted Will
Daniel Winter advised the son of the deceased in a claim valued in excess of a six figure sum against the draftsman of the deceased’s will.
Investigations were completed in to the instructions provided by the deceased, her intentions and the family background. The deceased was motivated by several factors; the mitigation of inheritance tax, the desire for her son to inherit her property and the express exclusion of her step-child. The deceased formed a misconceived opinion that the only way she could do that would be to pass the property on her death to her estranged husband (our client’s father) and to leave it to him to then pass the property to her son. The deceased then employed a will writer who drafted a will leaving the properties to the deceased’s estranged husband with nothing but the hope and expectation that he would honour his wishes by transferring the property to his son.
The father refused. There was nothing that could be done to force him to “do the right thing”.
Our investigations concluded that the will writer was likely to have been negligent due to a failure to properly advise the deceased as to the availability of creating a life interest trust with the property passing to her husband for life and then passing to our client. This would have achieved all the deceased’s goals.
The claim was defended in its entirety by the defendant’s professional indemnity insurers on the basis that the deceased’s instructions were only for the properties to pass to her husband and the will draftsman was retained only to write the will in accordance with the deceased’s instructions and not provide any advice.
We took the claim to mediation and secured our client a significant financial settlement.