My mum made a will with free wills month and has received a will with errors & a Bill

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  • Ilona
    Ilona Posts: 2,449 Forumite
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    I have just made a will under the free wills scheme, after reading about it here on MSE. All went well, 45 minute appointment with a solicitor, I was told there is no charge, a donation is optional. I chose to name one of the participating charities in the will, adding it to the list of other charities I had already chosen.

    My will is simple, but I read that if it is complicated then there could be a charge. Nobody can write a will in five minutes, did she take all the details with her already written down? Did the solicitor perhaps copy this without asking any questions? Sounds very strange to me.
    Ilona
    I love skip diving.
    :D
  • athensgeorgia
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    Mojisola wrote: »
    I can't see how all that information could have been taken down in five minutes!

    That's the point I was getting at. Surely if she was in there 5 minutes that should attribute to the countless spellings.

    It is straight forward though. I have seen the draft copy.

    It names my eldest sister then 2 of my nephews then 2 of my children (missing out the third but not intentionally) and then my sister. The next point bequeaths anything outstanding to myself and my brother who is actually my husband. She did want to leave the above mentioned people the same amount and she did want to leave everything outstanding to myself but didn't include my husband.

    And that was it, could that have been done in 5 minutes?

    She did say in the telephone call to me how unhappy she was about being in there 5 minutes and how quickly the 'man' had been scribbling it all down.

    I telephoned the solicitors today and spoke to a lady who said the person I needed to speak to would call me back but it would be very late today or possibly tomorrow. They didn't telephone today as far as I'm aware as I'm currently doing jury service and my phone has been switched off all day, so looks like they should be phoning me back tomorrow. When I spoke to mum she said the outcome she wants is just to forget about the whole thing. She wants the Bill written off and to hear nothing more from them.

    It is definitely a 'real' solicitor and not a will writing service. Their letterhead says they are part of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, so if I have no joy with the practice I shall be taking it further but hopefully it won't come to that.
  • Biggles
    Biggles Posts: 8,209 Forumite
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    It is definitely a 'real' solicitor and not a will writing service.
    That could be the problem. A professional will-writing service will have specialised expertise, as well as relevant qualifications, training and updates.

    Solicitors, 'real' or otherwise, don't necessarily have any of that (unless they are members of STEP).
  • tyllwyd
    tyllwyd Posts: 5,496 Forumite
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    To be fair to the solicitor, although they should have taken the time to get the names right, mis-spelling a name is very easy to do (I can think of loads of documents over the years where names have been mis-spelt) and that is why they have sent the will to you to check. They shouldn't make a fuss about putting it right - if I was you, I would correct the version of the will that you have been given by hand, and also give a separate piece of paper with the names of the various family member and their relationships to your mum typed up (or emailed).
  • alanq
    alanq Posts: 4,216 Forumite
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    It makes one wonder when solicitors make basic errors how carefully they check their legal work. If there are errors that the layman can spot what confidence does that give in the care given to more complex matters?

    When I was buying my house I was presented with a contract to sign that had my name misspelt. I was paying the solicitor to check the contract and it should not have been left to me to find this.
  • athensgeorgia
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    alanq wrote: »
    It makes one wonder when solicitors make basic errors how carefully they check their legal work. If there are errors that the layman can spot what confidence does that give in the care given to more complex matters?.

    Technically I'm not a layman, I'm a legal secretary.

    I spotted the errors a mile off and would never dream of sending a document out with so many mistakes.

    I spoke to the solicitor and highlighted the errors and they said they'd be able to see my mum and sort the problem out but she'd lost all confidence in them and it was agreed they'd forget the whole thing.

    I'd already got in touch with free wills month in the meantime and they arranged for another solicitor to draft the will under the same terms, even though it was out of free wills month. My mum went to their offices and had a new will drafted. They also gave her some really good advice as she'd only left money to 3 of her 6 children and they advised she draft a further document to say why she'd not left anything to my brother or sisters. She came away really happy.

    Having spoken to free wills month they did say they'd received numerous complaints about the first solicitor and wouldn't be having them involved in free wills month again.
    tyllwyd wrote: »
    To be fair to the solicitor, although they should have taken the time to get the names right, mis-spelling a name is very easy to do (I can think of loads of documents over the years where names have been mis-spelt) and that is why they have sent the will to you to check.

    It wasn't everyday errors. My mum named my 3 children all with the same surname of Cotterill. And it was spelt incorrectly 3 times but each of the 3 times was different. We had coteril, cottrill and cotteril.
  • SevenOfNine
    SevenOfNine Posts: 2,357 Forumite
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    To be fair, it was a draft, correcting errors is the whole point of it - though I totally agree some of the mistakes are plain daft and there sounds like there were far too many! Don't blame your Mum for losing confidence in the first solicitor.

    We were also advised to write a 'Letter of Wishes' to accompany our will, not a legal document and solicitor not involved in the writing of it, just advised to 'explain' some of the choices we'd made in our wills, help smooth out/avoid bad feeling amongst family members.

    Also suggested we put our funeral preferences in it, both of us have been happy to deal with those issues, neither death will be such a chore for our sons, just follow the list! The less decision making you have to do when grieving, the better.
    Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.
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