Q: My elderly neighbour has macular disease and is registered blind. Her husband died and she is reliant on carers and friends helping her to deal with anything requiring sight. The other day she told me she has not updated her Will since her husband died and was worried that her estate would go to a cousin she never saw. She asked if I could write a new Will for her that she could sign, but I am not sure this would be legal. Please can you advise?
A: It would not be advisable to do what your neighbour has asked because there would be no way of proving that you had written the Will as she requested. She should make an appointment to see a solicitor and tell them what she wants to go in the Will. Once the new Will has been drafted, you or someone else should accompany her to the solicitor’s office and act as a witness by reading out loud to her what the solicitor has written.
The solicitor will ask her whether there is anything she does not understand or is unhappy about and make any necessary amendments. Then, when your neighbour is happy with the new Will, the solicitor will guide her to the place where she needs to sign. If she prefers, someone else (other than the witness) can sign on her behalf. But it must be clearly stated that the Will was ‘signed on behalf of and in the presence of’ her.
As a witness you would need to state that you certify that before execution the Will was read by you to the testator (your neighbour) and that the testator confirmed they had fully understood everything that was written in the Will. It would be a good idea if your neighbour also thought about setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney if she has not already done so.
This question has been answered by Ulia Choudhry, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.
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