Consultation process begins to review Will making Laws
Smith Partnership is monitoring with interest The Law Commission’s newly released consultation, which will look at whether the law relating to the preparation of Wills needs to be overhauled.
Based on the eventual results of the public consultation which will conclude in November 2017, The Law Commission will present its arguments to the law makers.
The Law Commission argue that the Wills Act (which was created during the reign of Queen Victoria) is somewhat out of step with the modern world and it fails to protect the vulnerable. It is also thought that the outdated laws could also be discouraging people from making a Will in the first place.
Perhaps the most interesting section of the report from Smith Partnership’s perspective is that the commission wants to gauge people’s thoughts on the introduction of electronic Wills, to better reflect the modern world.
The Law Commission are consulting on the following proposals:
- enable the courts to dispense with the formalities for a Will where it is clear what the deceased people wanted
- changing the test for capacity to make a Will, to take into account the modern understanding of conditions like dementia
- provide statutory guidance for doctors and other professionals conducting an assessment of whether a person has the required mental capacity to make a Will
- new rules protecting those making a Will from being unduly influenced by another person
- lower the age for that a Will can be made from 18 to 16 years old
- The Commission wants to pave the way for the introduction of electronic Wills
The Law Commission are also asking us the public:
- what the main barriers they see to people making a Will are
- to tell us about their own experiences of disputes over Wills following the death of a loved one
- whether the rule that marriage revokes a will should be retained or abolished.
Luke Smyth, Solicitor at Smith Partnership Solicitors commented: “Whether the law on making Wills is going to be changed remains to be seen. However, making a Will currently is and always will be a serious matter, and the effects of making a Will can have life-changing effects on people mentioned in (or not mentioned in) the document.
“At Smith Partnership we believe that safeguards need to be in force to protect everyone, but this is particularly relevant for those of us who are more vulnerable in the modern age. We also welcome ideas to update the way we process Will’s using modern technology to improve our customer service offering further.”
If you would like to discuss the preparation or review of your Will do not hesitate to contact one of our trained legal advisors on 01332 225225 or visit www.smithpartnership.co.uk
The open public consultation on Wills runs until 10th November 2017 and you can view the report here http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/wills/