To prevent any dispute over inheritance and the true wishes of the deceased, a Will that has been professionally drafted and signed will leave no doubt in the minds of those who question any legacy. In the following case, a couple took the matter into their own hands after they fraudulently tried to change a deceased person’s Will and as a result were given prison sentences for their trouble.
In this case the issues were relating to a flat valued at about £130,000 that had originally in the sole ownership of a woman also resident was her partner and daughter, the former later became a joint tenant. When the woman died she left the flat to her partner. He died a year later and the property was due to pass to his two daughters as his next of kin as he had not made a Will.
The couple felt that was not what the deceased woman would have wanted and had the deceased man made a Will he would have left the property to the woman’s daughter. They set about creating a Will and presented it as the mans’ genuine Will to enable that to happen. They used a basic Will template that can be bought on the high street to achieve this.
Unfortunately, despite their insistence that the Will was genuine, a hand-writing expert explained that it was not completed by the deceased as quite clearly both the writing and the signature were not hers. Both individuals were convicted of conspiracy to defraud and false representation. The male was sentenced to 16 months and the woman received 18 months in prison.
They appealed their sentences as they believed the jury should not have been told that the two people who witnessed the Will had also been convicted of conspiracy and given suspended sentences and that prejudiced their case.
The Court of Appeal did not agree that their hearing had been unfair and dismissed the couples appeal leaving them to serve their full sentences.