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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71042
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My mother-in-law made her will about 12-15 years ago, on a

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My mother-in-law made her will about 12-15 years ago, on a form bought from a stationery shop. there is no copy. She was diagnosed with dementia about 5 years ago and although she showed us the will then, she wanted to keep it. In her will she named us (my wife and I) as sole beneficiaries and executors. Since then her mental health has deteriorated and she wants us to now have the will for safe keeping. Unfortunately she does not know where she has put it and we can't find it. It could have been thrown away. There will not be a great sum after funeral expenses etc, (about £5,000 we estimate) but she is adamant now, and always has been, that she does not want some other members of her family to inherit anything. We do not feel that she is necessarily in a fit state to draw up a new will. What can we do?

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What are you hoping to achieve? What is your goal here?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

We want to make sure that in the event of her death her wishes will be safeguarded.

Thank you.

Your mother-in-law has 2 options.

The 1st is that she can die intestate in which case, if she has no spouse, her assets will be divided equally among the children. It would appear that she does not want that.

The 2nd is that, if she lacks mental capacity, she can consider the statutory will which is arranged through the public guardianship office and the official Solicitor will look at all of the circumstances and decide whether the terms of fair.

An application for a statutory will is expensive though.

It comes down really to whether or not she is able to draw up a new will. It may be worth asking her doctor if he thinks that she is and accessing the opinion of the solicitor who would speak to her alone.

If she's still adamant that she does not want any of her children to inherit then it may be that she does have the capacity to make a new will.

There is a difference between people who are frail and people who are lacking incapacity. Also sometimes a person can have intermittent mental capacity which will worsen and improve over the course of their life.

If she is now not able to execute in you will then her options are very limited and although she has always been clear in her intentions it is too late to formalise them.

You should also bear in mind that when she eventually passes away and the house is cleared the will may come to light.

I'm very sorry if this is bad news but I have to give you truthful information.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Does it make any difference that we were granted power of attorney some years ago, for health and finance and property?

Not really.

That only gives you the right to instruct the preparation of the statutory will via the public guardianship office and, of course, to deal with your mother-in-law's other affairs.

It does not give the right to say what goes in will or to write the will on her behalf.

Have a look here for more information upon statutory wills