Capacity Issues for Private Client Practitioners

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Speaker: Professor Lesley King
CPD Time: 1.5 hours
Duration: 1 hour
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This video will consider capacity issues in relation to wills and lifetime gifts together with the linked questions of knowledge and approval and undue influence. In particular it will look at:-

  • What are the appropriate tests of capacity?
    • Statutory or case law?
    • Does the threshold vary according to the nature of the complexity?
    • Does the client have to appreciate the consequences of their action?
  • What about the ‘Golden Rule’?
    • Does it still exist?
  • What should you do if you are doubtful as to capacity?
  • What is the difference between capacity and knowledge and approval?
  • What is undue influence?
    • Where is the borderline between persuasion and coercion?
    • Is there a presumption of undue influence?

Learning objectives

After this video you will be able to:

  • Identify the relevant tests of capacity
  • Take appropriate steps when doubtful of capacity
  • Distinguish between capacity and knowledge and approval
  • Distinguish between undue influence and persuasion



Professor Lesley King of the University of Law is co-author of Wills, Taxation and Administration: A Practical Guide; A Modern Approach to Wills, Administration and Estate Planning (with Precedents);  A Practitioner’s Guide to Wills; Wills: A Practical Guide and editor of The Probate Practitioner’s Handbook. She is the wills and probate columnist for the Law Society Gazette, and writes and lectures extensively on wills, taxation and related matters.

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