For an elderly person, making a Will can be difficult to understand so it is imperative that whatever they are about to do is very clearly explained. For a solicitor providing this service, a high duty of care is expected.
The instructions for the Will must be taken from the person making the Will. The solicitor will meet this person to take his instructions directly and to be satisfied that his elderly client understands the process.
It is critically important that the provisions of the Will come from the client themselves and not family members, a friend, or a carer. While these people may have the best of intentions, the solicitor must be satisfied that his elderly client understands and agrees to what is actually provided for in the Will.
There is always a risk of Undue Influence coming in to play for which the solicitor will be on guard. This can easily arise where the testator, due to age, illness, deafness, or frailty relies too much on third parties to communicate his/her wishes.
The law requires that those making a Will must be of ‘Sound Mind’ before they execute the document.
In cases where the elderly client/testator is ill and or is in hospital or a nursing home, the opinion of a doctor may be required to ensure that the elderly client understands the entire process.