Can I bring someone with me when making a Will?
For a will to be valid, it must be in writing, signed by you, and witnessed by two people.
You must have the mental capacity to make the will and understand the effect it will have and you must have made the will voluntarily and without pressure from anyone else. Your instructed Solicitor will ensure that each of these components is fulfilled.
You are free to allow someone to bring you to the appointment, however, instructions need to be given by the person making a Will and no one else.
It is common practice for you to be asked to leave your companion outside of the meeting whilst your Will is discussed.
Even if you bring someone along for support, no matter how honest the intention is, we need to ensure that the wishes you contain in your Will are wholly your own and you must be given the opportunity to provide instructions free of the presence of another.
If you do need someone else present (as may be the case if you are perhaps frail or need help communicating) then your solicitor will make a note of what you have advised, who accompanied you and why in your client file.
If there is not a valid reason for someone to accompany you and their reason for doing so is purely because they wish to be present, then your solicitor can refuse them entry into the meeting.
When the Will is ready to be signed, you must sign your Will in the presence of two independent witnesses, who must also sign it in your presence – so all three people should be in the room together when each one signs.
Beneficiaries should not be present in the room when the will is signed.
A solicitor is trained to execute Wills in such a way where challenges based upon any of these factors are unlikely to succeed.
A solicitor is able to determine the capacity to make a Will, and if there is any doubt in this regard, is able to advise on how best to proceed to ensure that your best interests are catered for.
A solicitor will also keep detailed notes on meetings regarding your Will which detail or eliminate any influence or intention concerns – if there are any concerns, your solicitor will deal with these to ensure they do not play a factor before your Will is drafted and executed.
The STEP Code for Will Preparation in England & Wales states that a will drafter must refuse to act if they have to deal with a third party if they are unable to confirm that the client is ‘free from coercion, undue influence, and has testamentary capacity’.
There are several reasons for asking you to attend the meeting alone:
Sadly, individuals who are elderly, ill or socially isolated are statistically, unfortunately, more likely to be subjected to financial abuse and undue influence.
It is important to take instructions without potential beneficiaries present as this helps to avoid any later suggestion of undue influence. If a person is present with you at the time of instruction and your Will is later contested, it is harder to argue that there is no influence or coercion concerns and as such, could result in a Court awarding inheritance provisions to persons whom you did not intend.
There are other factors not discussed above which can constitute grounds for a claim against your estate, all of which a solicitor will be knowledgeable of and will advise you how to control so far as possible based upon your circumstances.
Any concerns regarding your Will requires expert legal guidance, so our advice is simple; arrange a free 30-minute meeting with the team at Peter Lynn and Partners who will assess your case and advise you on the most appropriate course of action by contacting:
➤ Swansea – 01792 310731
➤ Llanelli – 01554 788280
➤ Ammanford – 01269 597978
➤ Email – [email protected]