I WANT to leave a precious ( and expensive) gold ring to a friend who attends our church but am afraid my children will not tell her or sell the statuette and keep the money for themselves. How can I make sure of the bequest?

Tell the friend you intend this, ensure it is stated clearly in your will (with a sufficient description of the statuette so there is no dispute about which one is meant) and either have your solicitor store the will, or keep a copy, so that your offspring are not left to act unchecked. Indeed if you appoint someone other than your children as executor and leave an inventory of the estate items with the will, that would work too.

A debt collector firm keeps phoning my house. If they phone during the day, they wake up my wife who works nightshift. If at night, I tell them they have the wrong number. I have written to them complaining, and to BT as a nuisance call, and still they persist. I cannot change my telephone number as it’s for business, so how do I get the phone calls to stop, when no- one will listen?

Write yourself or by your solicitor to the managing directors – in person - of the collection company and the original lender to complain. If they fail to respond, contact the Office of Fair Trading Consumer Direct service www.consumerdirect.gov.uk or tel. 08454-040506. Last resort is taking them to court for an interdict order to stop them phoning you.

I am 90 years old, but absolutely fine physically and mentally. If I was going for power of attorney would this mean completely losing all control over my cheque book and money now?

Not at all. You should consider getting a power of attorney drawn up, but put to one side until a doctor certifies you unfit to look after your own affairs. That way the document is suspended until it is necessary. If you don’t do this now, it might be too late if you fall ill or indisposed and then are not able to appoint an attorney. In that event someone must go to court to get a guardianship order over you – very expensive and intrusive. Getting a POA now is sensible and does not restrict your own life and authority.

My neighbour wants to knock down our mutual garden wall – which is admittedly leaning a bit and had its time – and wants me to pay for half. I can’t afford this and have said that he can carry on at his own cost. I am not sure if the wall is actually on his property, ours, or both. How can I find out?

Assuming you don’t have your own title deeds at home (if you do, read them), you can get a copy of your Title from the Registers of Scotland directly (www.ros.gov.uk) or via your solicitor, though he/she might charge a fee for helping. Not only will the title show the boundary of your property, it will dictate any rules for shared maintenance of walls and who pays for repair costs. If it is genuinely common between you, you may have to pay half.