Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Houston, A;Donnelly, M;O'Keeffe, ST
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Will-making in Irish nursing homes: Staff perspectives on testamentary capacity and undue influence
Optional Fields
Allegations of lack of testamentary capacity or of undue influence are grounds for many disputed wills. Some people who make (or change an existing) will are resident in a nursing home. A substantial proportion of this population have cognitive or communication difficulties or are physically frail, and concerns regarding testamentary capacity or undue influence may be more likely to arise as a result. A questionnaire examining the experiences and views of staff regarding will-making by nursing home residents was posted to the Directors of Nursing of a random sample of 148 of the approximately 600 nursing homes in the Republic of Ireland and 81 responded. Over 10% of respondents reported seeing cases where they felt a resident who lacked capacity was visited by a solicitor or where a resident was placed under undue pressure to make or change a will or both. In most such cases, staff felt they could do little to intervene. In general, responses to the questionnaire suggested staff misunderstanding of the confidential nature of the relationship between a solicitor and a client and that respondents had an exaggerated view of the power and responsibility of doctors and of family members to influence residents' decisions and interactions with solicitors regarding will-making. This study suggests the need for improved Guidelines for staff regarding will-making in residential care including advice on how to proceed where concerns including undue pressure arise. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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