Q. My elderly Uncle is quite frail and finds it difficult to leave the house now. He has told me that he would like to make a Will and I am considering picking up a “home-made” Will kit from a local stationers, as I think I will be able to help him make the Will and write it all out for him. I expect that he is going to leave his house to me as he has always said he would, and cut out his son and daughter who have not been to visit him in over 12 months. My wife thinks that I should arrange for a solicitor to see my Uncle, but I think it might be a waste of money. Why should my Uncle see a solicitor?
A. My advice would always be that you should see a solicitor if you wish to update or make a Will. In that way you can be sure to receive impartial, professional advice about putting your wishes into effect and the implications of doing so. In the situation you describe it is very important for your Uncle to see a solicitor without you being present, so that your Uncle’s instructions can be taken. Most Solicitors are quite happy to arrange home visits if that is likely to be more convenient for their client. The solicitor will be able to discuss all the possible issues with your Uncle and make sure that he understands what he wishes to do. This would ensure that, should, for example, his children be unhappy with the Will after his death, that the full circumstances surrounding the making of the Will can be explained, and if necessary the solicitor can confirm the instructions he received by checking on the file he made at the time.
There have been many cases where Wills have been challenged by unhappy family members who believe that someone has influenced their deceased relative into making a Will. Without independent evidence as to what the deceased person intended these cases can become very long winded and expensive.
*This article was previously published in the Stamford Mercury