“Man who admits forging will is handed a custodial sentence”: Lessons to be learned

A Surrey man was this week sentenced to eight months in prison, after admitting making a false instrument with intent.

His partner had been attacked and killed last March. They lived together with her two children and questions were soon raised about a draft Will which he had claimed to have found at the property. Subsequent analysis by handwriting experts concluded that the signature did not belong to the deceased.

He later admitted he had forged the document in question, but claimed he had only done so because he wanted to “smoke out” a missing will, which he claimed gave instructions that he should be allowed to remain living at the property.

Many people can empathise with this scenario without succumbing to the temptation to commit forgery.

Those who live together, especially when children are involved, must address the question of what is to happen if one of them dies.

Arrangements for the children need to be considered and appropriate provision considered and made for each partner.

In the absence of a Will, a cohabitee receives nothing under the intestacy rules and must look to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act for relief.

Had this gentleman known this, the outcome might have been entirely different.

The real lesson is that there can be no substitute for discussing the future and recognising all eventualities and their impact. Wills should not be put off within a stable and mutually supportive relationship.

And forged Wills do exist…..

If you require advice on Will disputes please contact Neil Acheson-Gray, Ian West, or Michael Woodward.