New fears voiced over will scam victims

Samuel Eaton
Samuel Eaton

WIGANERS who may been duped by a rogue businessman have been issued with a further warning to check wills and legal papers.

Almost a dozen more residents have come forward to express concerns about documents provided by Samuel Eaton since, trading standards officers have revealed.

The 66-year-old, who traded as the The Pensioners’ Association and The Senior Citizens’ Advice Centre, was sentenced to an eight-month jail term for selling dodgy wills and documents branded “useless” by experts.

Julie Middlehurst, Wigan Council Trading Standards and Licensing Group Manager said: “We would advise anyone who has concerns about legal documents they have had drafted by someone other than a qualified solicitor, to get them checked out to make sure that the information included is correct.

“If a will is badly drafted, the person who made the will may never know, as problems would normally only come to light after their death, this would mean the person’s wishes weren’t being carried out. Also beneficiaries of the will would incur the legal costs of taking the will before a court for the court to decide on the maker’s wishes and intentions.”

At his sentencing hearing in May, the court heard how Eaton produced literature to support his business giving the impression he was affiliated to charities Age UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and Sense, a charity for deaf and blind people.

Sentencing the 66-year-old, who is from Lincolnshire, Judge Alan Conrad QC said: “In my view these are serious offences involving a number of different victims, some particularly vulnerable.”

Trevor Parry-Jones, defending, said that Eaton was “totally misguided and ill-prepared and should not have done what he did.”

Eaton had pleaded guilty to four offences of engaging in a commercial practice which contrived the requirement of due diligence.

Ms Middlehurst added: “Most people don’t realise that anyone can set themselves up as a will writer, you don’t need any qualifications or experience.

“If you want to make a will, or check that the will you have is properly made, we advise that you contact a member of the Institute of Professional Will Writers or a firm of solicitors who is a member of the Law Society’s Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme.”

The Institute of Professional Will Writers can be contacted on 0345 257 2570 and the Law Society on 020 7320 5650.