Are people aware that there is no legal requirement for a solicitor to seek a medical assessment of an individual before changing an existing will of long standing. Even when the solicitor’s own notes on the meeting with the individual state:- “appeared to be rather vague” “I began to have concerns about his understanding’ ‘He was very vague and seemed to drift away during the conversation’ ‘Occasionally he would almost snap back into awareness but could not sustain that for long enough to provide me with the instructions I needed’ “was rather vague again” ‘I did have some concerns about capacity’ Despite having an existing will of 8 years standing and having been officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s/dementia my elderly confused fathers-in-law will was changed a few weeks before he died. The instructions for the changes to the will were initiated by someone un-related to my father in law, my father-in-law had only the one child my husband. This person, who my father-in-law did know but disliked, in addition to initiating the new will:- detailed the changes to be made; made themselves the main beneficiary of the new will; made themselves the executor of the new will; and attended the meeting with the solicitors and my father-in-law at his home. All of which I would have thought would have concerned the solicitors. My father-in-law had no memory of having changed the will as a few days before he died he kept reminding my husband (his only child) that he was the main beneficiary of the will and its executor. After his death the solicitors (who had also written the will we had for my father-in-law some 8 years ago) wrote to us advising us that his old will was invalid and that a new will had been written a few weeks before my father-in-law was rushed into hospital effectively to end his days. We wrote to the solicitors asking for details about how the will could have been changed without a medical assessment of my father-in-law. They sent back detailed notes on how the new will came about. Their notes contained the above mentioned phrases about my father-in-law and yet still they decided not to get a medical assessment done on him. The solicitors informed us that they were not interested when we told them my father-in-law had been officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s/dementia long before the new will was written. In this situation it turns out there is very little you can do. My father-in-law’s doctor despite being deeply sympathetic said that the law did not allow him to release any medical information to a family member. That only the executor of the will could have access to my father-in-law’s medical records. So he could not even give us his retrospective medical opinion as to whether he thought my father-in-law was of sound enough mind to have changed his will of 8 years standing. Though we are pretty certain having known my father-in-law for many years he would have said he was not. Reluctantly taking legal advice about challenging the will we were advised that my father-in-law’s solicitors were under no legal obligation to get a medical assessment done. If we wanted to challenge the will it would cost around £10k+ and without the medical information from my father-in-law’s doctor our chances of winning the case were slim and it would all have to take place in a court of law. I was deeply shocked that there wasn’t a legal requirement for a solicitor not to seek a medical assessment of someone who without doubt was extremely confused. When my elderly parents, before my dad’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s/dementia wanted to ‘tweak’ their will, their solicitors insisted that a doctor’s report be sent confirming both parents were of sound mind. At the time is was annoying to have to go through this process but I assumed it was the law, so this is what we did. But it seems under the law a solicitor can chose to make their own medical judgement as to whether someone is of sufficient sound mind before changing a will. I would have thought at least given the fact that the will was no longer benefiting the only child (my husband) would have rung alarm bells, but seems it did not. Obviously the loss of the monies (which were not inconsiderable) has been hard, but I think the worst part was that as my husband is no longer the executor, he had no say over the disposal of my father-in-law’s house and all his personal effects, most of which we believe are now skip fodder as we could no longer access his home. The loss of all the family photo albums is probably the hardest to bear and deeply distressing.