Writing a Will for someone else

When is it not a good idea to use an online Will making platform like EzWills to create a Will for someone else?

Helping someone else to write a Will for him/her can be risky. This is even more so if you are using an online Will making platform like EzWills to do so.

In a few circumstances we would say you really should NOT be making a Will for someone else much less using an online Will making platform to do so.

Making a Will for someone else

Many people know that you should not be a witness to a Will in which you are a beneficiary.

Using an online will making website to create a Will for someone else in which you are named sole beneficiary is just as bad an idea as witnessing a Will in which you are a beneficiary.

In both occasions the obvious question is always ‘Did you pressure the will maker to make that Will?’.

Any such Will you make is going to risk being challenged as having been made under undue influence.

The exceptions may be where you are making a Will for your spouse or you are an only child making a Will for your parent.

Making a Will where you are getting an unequal share

You must be careful if you are trying to create a Will for your parent using EzWills.

If you are helping your parent make a Will and the estate is to be divided equally between all the children no one is likely to complain. If the Will gives you a smaller share that’s also not going to be a problem.

However, if the Will gives you a larger share than your siblings you must know that there can be real problems.

It also doesn’t matter that your parent is telling you that this is what he/she wants.

So long as someone else is getting an unequal smaller share there is always the risk the Will is going to be disputed.

You could be accused of undue influence in the preparation of the Will.

Undue influence

If the Will that is being created gives you an unequal larger share than someone else who like you is a child of the will maker it’s a bad idea to be involved in creating the Will.

Even if your intention is pure and you are just carrying out the intentions of your parent being involved in the creation of such a Will can be hazardous to your health and reputation.

You do not want or need to be accused of having unduly influenced your parent in the making of their Will.

Knowledge and approval of Will contents

Even if there is no allegation of undue influence a court can refuse to grant Probate for a Will if it isn’t satisfied that the will maker knew and approved of the contents of the Will.

This is especially so if the will maker does not understand English. It may also happen if the will maker is elderly.

So even if there is no question of undue influence creating a will for someone else can be a problem if you are not able to prove the he/she knew and approved of the contents in the Will.

Avoid problems

If you have been involved in the creation of a Will for someone else and there is a risk of the Will being disputed you can take steps to reduce the chances of problems.

Firstly, you arrange for the will maker to receive independent legal advice from a lawyer before signing the Will. Ideally have an independent lawyer witness the Will signing.

Unless the will maker is provided with independent legal advice it will always be possible for the will to be challenged and set aside.

In case of doubt get a lawyer to draw up the Will. It’ll be much cheaper than the Will ending up in litigation.

28 November 2020

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