Duties of wills and probate lawyers
The responsibilities of lawyers who specialise in wills, trusts and estate planning depend to a large extent on what a client’s instructions are. They are most commonly asked to:
- Draft a will so that a client’s property and money (estate) is distributed to beneficiaries (usually family and friends) in accordance with the client’s wishes
- Advise on ways of reducing inheritance tax (estate financial planning)
- Complete and register powers of attorney so that, if the client becomes mentally incapable of responsibly managing his or her affairs (perhaps because of a serious illness), his or her nominated attorney takes control, avoiding the legal costs, delay and stress of having to apply for a court order
- After death, whether there is a will or not, identify all assets, pay off any liabilities and distribute the balance (residue) promptly and without delay.
Common mistakes – will drafting or probate negligence
- Before drafting a will, failing to check that the client is sound in mind (has testamentary capacity) and, if there is some doubt, failing to obtain expert medical evidence
- Drafting errors in a will
- Failing to ensure that the will is signed (executed) correctly by the client and witnesses
- Delay in drafting a will or, after death, distributing the estate
- After death, wrongly calculating the deceased’s estate’s liabilities, particularly the amount of inheritance tax to be paid
If you have lost out as a result of will drafting or probate negligence, and think you may have a negligence claim, call us now on 0330 050 5254 for a free, no obligation discussion with a qualified professional who specialises in claims against solicitors, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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