News | February 25, 2019

Instructions for a Will: The conflict of interest issue – eprivateclient 14/02/2019

The article was originally published by eprivateclient on 14/02/2019.

It is not uncommon for clients who want to make or update their Will to come in to see their solicitor accompanied by their spouse or partner. They might want to make “mirror” Wills – documents in very similar terms where the estate ultimately devolves in the same way. However, as professionals we need to be clear about the implications of the other party staying at the meeting and take what steps we can to ensure that each client gives independent instructions and we are not put in a position of conflict.

Spouses and civil partners may be quite happy to give us joint instructions and not understand why we need to see each one separately. However, many professionals will have had clients who raise questions in the meeting as to whether they really want to make a certain provision in their Will that mirrors that in their partner’s Will. Similarly, clients who want to reserve a decision on a clause or gift in the draft Will until they have thought about this after the meeting.

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