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Will Fraud and the Benefits of Will Registration

This month the METRO covered the case of the lover of a millionaire who was accused of forging his will to stop his estranged wife inheriting his £3 million fortune. She was recently cleared at the Court of Appeal.

Gillian Clemo was accused of fabricating the document after millionaire Chris John, an estate agent boss, died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage in 2008. Gillian was convicted of using a false will after evidence was given by Chris John’s estranged wife Helen John. She was handed a fine and court bill totalling £8,000. However, following the conviction, another copy of the disputed will was found in holdall by Mr John’s sister, Melissa. A handwriting expert said signatures on both wills were genuine. Sitting in London, Lord Justice Treacy called the first verdict ‘unsafe’ and the conviction was quashed.

Whilst the story above would not have been stopped by will registration, there are many cases each year where a ‘lost’ or ‘unfound’ will changes the outcome dramatically for the beneficiaries.

For some time now many partners have been asking us about will registration. Very shortly we will commence registering wills stored with us on the National Will Register. We believe this is a positive practice and adds value to both our and our partners will storage proposition.

The benefits are obvious; there is no cost to you or your client, saving them £31.00 per document if they had registered themselves. You will be able to opt out if a client does not wish for this to happen with their will.

Registration ensures that a will can be found at death and you would be surprised how many estates are treated as intestate even though a wills exists in professional storage. Did you know that 98% of Solicitors hold wills in storage where the testator has passed away? In a recent study a business checked a number of ‘intestate estates’ they had administered and in 30% of cases a will was found.

In the main it is the people doing the Estate Administration who would be performing a will search, either because no will has been found or to ascertain the most current will has been located.

Kings Court Trust believes that a search of this kind is best practice and every case should always be processed this way to ensure no further will exists. We are committed to supporting you with services of the highest standard and trust that FREE Will registration strengthens your business.