Saturday 1 January 2011

Never sign without reading

Everyone knows, I hope, how important it is to read - and understand - documents before signing them: once signed, they are legally binding on you, and consumer protection legislation will only come to the rescue of the foolhardy in very limited situations.

This applies to all sorts of documents: contracts, terms of business, even letters and, of course, Wills

It therefore surprises me to find clients turning up to sign their Wills (or other documents) without bringing their reading glasses with them. OK, they have normally seen Wills, etc, in draft form already and - presumably - have read them then; also, they can ask us to read the document over to them, which we will happily do.

Even so, I feel a little queasy at the thought of someone signing a Will without having read it through there and then, just before signing. We prefer to lend them a pair of glasses from a member of staff, if we have a suitable pair - mine won't do for reading as they are to correct my short-sightedness - and on one occasion I had to send a client home to get his reading glasses, as none was available for loan; he was not very happy!

To avoid this problem in future, we have bought a selection of cheap reading glasses to lend to forgetful clients, so the days of someone trying to insist on signing a document they cannot read ("It's all right: I trust you"!) should be over

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