Ask Ed: Estate Planning Dangers When Codicils Change Wills
Clients ask what’s involved in updating or changing a will. It should be an inexpensive and simple process, right?
That depends. Is the client 89 years of age and in a hospital? Does she want to disinherit her children for not visiting her?
In such cases, a lawyer must prove the client had capacity to make a will.
This may entail making several appointments to meet with the client independently and confidentially.
The lawyer must ask questions as if making a new will. These questions would include:
• What are your assets and liabilities?
• Who would you normally want to benefit under your will?
• Why are you making the changes to your will?
• Are the reasons for making changes justified?
• Should the client be cautioned about the risks of a will contest?
• Can a doctor give medical evidence on capacity?
Changing a will involves reviewing your client’s estate planning goals.
Clients think simple will changes do not require a lawyer.
However, any will change requires a review of the client’s estate planning.
Posted In: Wills On: October 25th, 2011