We recently came across a news article that highlights the importance of seeking trusted, professional advice when it comes to having your Will written. Samuel Eaton posed as a Wills specialist and salesman but has been jailed for swindling vulnerable pensioners out of their cash by selling them fake legal documents and trust deeds.
Eaton did this while trading under the guise of The Pensioners' Association and The Senior Citizens' Advice Centre, while his promotional leaflets and business cards implied that he was also connected to the charities Age UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and Sense. During one of his visits, he also played a DVD of a BBC documentary related to Wills and trusts to further convince his victims to part with their cash and add gravitas to his operation.
Judge Alan Conrad, QC, commented that Eaton had taken time to choose his specific victims carefully and that he was guilty of "serious offences involving a number of different victims, some particularly vulnerable."
The local authorities were alerted to Eaton's acts when the son of one of his victims contacted them after both he and his parents handed over £1,100. When examined, the documents created by Eaton were discovered to be inconsistent, ambiguous and full of errors. Eaton has been sentenced to eight months in jail and has also been fined £3,950.
David Birrell, representing the prosecution, said: "It is clear that each of his victims believed that his operations were charitable, rather than commercial ventures. There was a lack of professional diligence on the part of the defendant."
Kings Court Trust always recommends that individuals seek professional advice when it comes to preparing your Will, ideally from a firm that is a member of a reputable professional body such as the Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW). In doing so, you can be confident that you are dealing with a firm that abides by a code of conduct and ethics when dealing with customers. For more information, visit www.ipw.org.uk.