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‘Check validity’ warning over Wills

An expert in legal cases involving Wills and probate matters is warning family members to seek professional advice if they have concerns over the validity of a loved one’s Will.

Stephanie Kerr, solicitor in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution team at regional law firm Napthens, points to a recent court case involving an accountant who was found to have forged his mother’s Will in a bid to secure part of the family’s £160m fortune.

The High Court heard that the defendant, a London business man, was left nothing in his mother’s Will, so used a blank document which his mother had previously signed, to forge a new one.

His family became suspicious and forensic analysis proved the forgery had taken place. He has been left with a legal bill totalling more than £1million.

Stephanie Kerr said: “It is very unusual for a Will to have been found to be forged in this manner, but if family members have any doubts over the validity of a loved one’s Will, they should quickly seek legal advice.

“It may not be the document itself that a family member feels is incorrect – it may be they are concerned their loved one was coerced into changing a Will, or were not of sound mind when they did so.

“Such details can be investigated by a solicitor and if there is found to be an issue, there is action that can be taken. It’s important to report such concerns as quickly as possible.”

Stephanie Kerr solicitor Preston