Financial & Legal News

Making Wills fit for the 21st Century

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Recent proposals to bring the law around Wills up to date have been welcomed by solicitors after a recent statement issued by the Law Society on the changes.

In a response to the Law Commission’s consultation, President, Joe Egan stated:

Making arrangements for after we pass away is something we all have to do, and something solicitors assist their clients with every day. While the basics of how we make wills have stood the test of time, other aspects are in urgent need of updating to reflect modern life, and this will be a welcome opportunity for solicitors to help shape a new, fit for purpose wills law.

“Our Wills and Equity expert committee have been working closely with the Law Commission throughout this project, and will continue to do so through the consultation process,” he added.

Some of the proposals, such as allowing the court more flexibility when there are errors in a will but the deceased person’s wishes are clear, show immediate promise and are welcomed.

Others, such as enabling wills to be made electronically in the future, raise important but challenging questions, especially on how safe electronic wills will be from fraud.

The Law Society have also raised key issues in the consultation which it will be focussing on:

  • •Giving the court greater flexibility to uphold wills that do not meet legal requirements
  • •Using the Mental Capacity Act test to establish capacity to write a will
  • •Introducing a statutory presumption of capacity to write a will
  • •Reducing the age at which someone can make a will from 18 to 16
  • •The possibility of online or electronic will writing in the future.

Commenting on the news, Private Client solicitor at Pearson Solicitors said:  “I would agree that much of the law surrounding Wills is outdated and not reflective of the age in which we live. Making a Will has always been one of the most important steps you can take to ensure the financial security of your loved ones, and this will remain the case.

“However, the proposed changes are an important step to help modernise the law.

“With an increasingly aging population, advances in technology and a shift away from traditional family arrangements, it means that people think about things differently and it will be interesting to see the law updated to reflect these changes.”

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Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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