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Soldiers' families caught up in will disputes

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The Ministry of Defence has come in for criticism, following accusations that it did not provide proper guidance to soldiers who were making their wills before heading to the front line.

The Daily Telegraph this month highlighted a number of cases of families being locked in bitter disputes after a serviceman was killed in action.

In the cases of Trooper James Leverett and Private Daniel Wade, who both lost their lives during tours of duty in Afghanistan, disputes arose following their deaths and the effects are still being felt several years later.

In both cases, the young men are understood to have named their mothers as sole beneficiaries.

But since the servicemen also left behind pregnant girlfriends, the courts ruled that in accordance with inheritance laws, the men’s children should also receive a share of the substantial pay-outs awarded to families following their death.

There are thought to be at least another five similar disputes involving soldiers who had taken the time to put their affairs in order, but were not given adequate advice by the MoD.

“[They] have never given me any help,” Mr Leverett’s mother Sharon told the newspaper. “The will was totally inadequate. It was a waste of time. This should all have been sorted out [before he went to Afghanistan].