Will drafting—taking instructions
Will drafting—taking instructions

The following Wills & Probate practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Will drafting—taking instructions
  • First meeting
  • The client's situation
  • Personal details
  • Formal instructions
  • Former Wills
  • Lifetime gifts
  • Foreign assets
  • Burial/cremation wishes
  • Executors and trustees
  • More...

Will drafting—taking instructions

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): For guidance on the difficulties and practicalities of taking instructions during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—Wills.

Even though the instructions to draft a Will may appear to indicate that only a simple Will is required, skill is needed in order to ensure it is drafted correctly (ie it accurately reflects the testator’s wishes) and to an adequate professional standard. The adequacy of the drafting cannot be beyond doubt unless the original instructions are comprehensive and cover every possibility, even those that might seem remote. The failure to take adequate instructions may only surface many years later when the testator dies, by which time it is too late to correct any errors or gaps. Consequently, care and attention to detail are required from the outset in order to mitigate the risk of a negligence claim or dispute.

First meeting

When seeing a client for the first time, it is important to make sure that they have the testamentary capacity to make a Will. If there is any doubt about this and for guidance on the test for testamentary capacity, see Practice Notes: Capacity to make or revoke a Will and Probate actions—lack of testamentary capacity. On the basis that they have testamentary capacity, the practitioner then needs to:

  1. confirm with the client the dispositions they want to operate on their

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