12 June 2015
Businessman Who Sold Fake Wills to Pensioners is Jailed
A North-West businessman has been jailed for fraud after duping vulnerable pensioners into parting with their money for fake Wills.
Samuel Eaton targeted elderly people in and around Widens and Runcorn, mis-selling them Wills and Trust Deeds whilst trading as The Pensioner’s Association and The Senior Citizen’s Advice Centre. He gave the impression he was affiliated with Age UK, Sense, and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Eaton was taking between £1,000 and £3,000 from his victims and handing over documents that were poorly drafted, ambiguous and full of errors, inconsistencies and contradictions. He told people that he was not a solicitor but had solicitors working for him, but this was not the case.
Mr Eaton has been sentenced to eight months by Liverpool Crown Court and ordered to pay £3,950 in compensation and costs.
It’s cases like this that really highlight the need to get professional legal advice when drawing up Wills and other legal documents. Solicitors are regulated and any Wills produced are kept safe.
It is important to make sure that your Will is clear and precise as you will not be around to explain anything that doesn’t make sense. If you use someone who isn’t competent you risk the Will being contested and, worst case scenario, being declared invalid. This would mean that any of your wishes in it would not be able to be honoured.
Wills have to be drawn up with strict procedures to be valid. If anything isn’t completed correctly then it can be challenged. Under the Wills Act 1837 the will must be in writing, it must be signed and it must be witnessed by two independent witnesses. With the increase of unqualified Will writers there has been an increase in Wills being declared invalid.
Be wary of people offering their services online or door to door. Make sure you choose, without pressure, the regulated professional with whom to write your Will. You must make sure that you trust them 100%, you know that they are legally qualified to write your Will, and that they have your best interests at heart.
The solicitors at Slater and Gordon UK have a vast amount of experience in dealing with all issues relating to Wills, Probate & Estate Administration matters. We offer both flexible pricing and fixed fees for writing a Will and are fully regulated. Call us on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we will call you.