Q&A: Do I need a certificate from my GP before I update my Will?

Q.  My wife and I recently saw our solicitor to consider updating our Wills by removing gifts to various wayward grandchildren. She has suggested that we ought to approach our GP to get a certificate to confirm that we both fully understand what we are doing in updating our Wills. Although we are both elderly we were quite surprised that she suggested this, and wondered why this had been recommended?

 A.  It is regarded as best practice for a solicitor to suggest approaching your GP for a suitable certificate as to your understanding of your Will, obligations and financial situation in circumstances where you might be elderly, poorly or frail.  This would particularly be the case if you were planning to make a significant change to your Wills.  This is suggested for your protection, as one of the grounds on which a Will can be challenged is that you didn’t have the requisite mental capacity to enter into it.  To assist, a contemporaneous certificate from a suitably qualified medical professional could help in the event of a claim being made in your estate. Although I do sympathise that it can seem to be an insensitive request, it will have been made in an attempt to protect your best interests in the longer term.

Jo Wild, Solicitor

This article was previously published in the Stamford Mercury.