Over the last 15 years there have been considerable changes in
the law relating to wills. In addition society continues to change
and as a result now days many relationships comprise children from
multiple families. These are often referred to as
The effect of poor will drafting can be devastating. There have
been numerous court cases where wills have been drafted that do not
actually achieve the effect that they were intended to achieve.
Many lawyers who do not specialise in will drafting have been
caught out and they and their insurance companies have been sued
for the losses suffered by the families. In addition, and perhaps
of even more importance, the death of a loved one is a terrible
time for family members and those who have been unfairly affected
by a poorly drafted will.
The obligations on lawyers have increased significantly in
relation to taking will instructions and proper drafting.
A will is a complex piece of legal work and needs to be treated
as such. This means that the lawyer advising the client needs to be
an expert in will drafting and needs to take all the time necessary
to make sure the document is produced to an exceptionally high
standard. This means that the days of the free wills are sadly
It is just not possible for a lawyer to quickly "whip
up" a will for a client and guarantee that they will be
producing a correct document and one which will stand the scrutiny
of a court case brought by those who are not mentioned in it, or
those who think they are not adequately provided for in it.
Many years ago a client was able to walk into a lawyer's
office and say that he wanted a will that left everything to his
two children and, if they died, to their children. Nowadays that is
insufficient. Lawyers are required to ask about previous
relationships, possible previous children, get a clear
understanding of all of the assets or potential assets that might
be part of the estate and any other relevant information before
they can effectively advise the client as to what their will should
say and certainly before they draft and arrange for execution of
We encourage all of our clients to consider the making of a will
as one of the most important legal things they do. We understand
that it is not pleasant to think about your own death, however, it
is the one certainty in life and making sure that your estate
operates as smoothly and efficiently as possible is an important
goal. This requires your expert lawyer to take all the time
necessary to understand your personal situation and to properly
draft a will for you. Accordingly the days of the free will are now
gone. However, a well drafted will is incredibly good value for the
benefit they bring your loved ones.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
To ensure that all possible problems are considered and addressed, the transactions must be appropriately documented.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).