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Will-writing scammer migrates to Australia

  • 23/05/2013
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A dodgy will-writer who was banned from acting as a company director for 11 years has resurfaced – in Australia.

Gerald Barton charged clients for the safe storage of wills he then dumped in a barn and was later banned from directing a company until 2019.

His move to Australia was exposed by a news crew, who confronted him during a meeting with an undercover source.

A reporter asked him: “Gary Lewis is that your name today? It’s not is it? You’re Gerald Barton from the UK, you’ve been busted in the UK for doing dodgy wills.”

Barton appeared confused, asking: “Is that right?”

In 2001, Gerald Barton’s will-writing company collapsed and thousands of the wills were dumped in a barn. A second business he was associated with collapsed and the wills left outside on the pavement.

Barton’s direction of another operation, Nationwide Legal Services, earned him a ban from directing any company until 2019.

After moving to Australia, he set up a firm called Australian Legal Consultancy. The questionable nature of his business came to light after he told an applicant for a job she could earn $150,000 per year charging clients $1,500 per will. The applicant, who was also asked to buy a $10,000 stake in the firm, raised the alarm.

The government has rejected proposals to regulate will-writing, meaning anybody can write a will. It is thought around 10% of wills are written by cowboy firms who rip consumers off.

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