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Persuading reluctant clients to draw up a will

In this article I wish to touch upon a few points which may help you persuade a reluctant client to focus their mind on drawing up a will. These are presented from the point of view of a professional in a different field, that of probate genealogy. One of the services provided by Title Research is the identifying and locating of heirs at law under intestacy. The perspective and the insights gained from dealing on a daily basis with some of the practical problems caused by intestacy may perhaps lend weight to the message, which all legal advisers endeavour to get across to their clients.

1 January 2000


Firstly it is necessary to reiterate the importance of keeping the will up-to-date. The professional adviser should keep a database of testators who have made wills through its firm and should also send periodic reminders similar to those mailed out by dentists and opticians when a check-up is due. The purpose of review is to make sure that the provisions of the will are still applicable and to avoid the risk of accidental intestacy.

One of the most common causes of partial intestacy with which we deal is the residuary gift failing because an intended beneficiary has predeceased the testator without there being a gift over or other provision to cover this eventuality. Typically it is the case that this happens when the testator survives the writing of their will by several years without revising it and may not even be aware that the beneficiary has died in the interim.



An allied problem is that of gifts being made to in...

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