In its recent consultation document, the Law Commission proposes an overhaul of the bureaucratic, ‘Victorian-era laws’ surrounding wills.
In England and Wales, the law that governs wills is mainly derived from the Wills Act 1837.
A case from 1870 set out the laws that decide when a person has the capacity to make a will.
The Law Commission argues these laws should be modernised to reflect changes in society, technology and medicine since they were passed.
Its proposals include:
- Change the test for capacity to reflect our ever-ageing population, and advances in the understanding of diseases and disorders such as dementia
- Provide guidance for doctors and professionals assessing a person’s mental capacity to make a will
- Give courts the power to recognise wills in cases where the legal procedure hasn’t been followed but the deceased’s intentions are clear
- Introduce new rules to protect people from being unduly influenced by another person when making a will
- Lower the age you can legally make a will from 18 to 16
- Introduce electronic wills to reflect our reliance on digital technology
It’s also asking the public to tell them about their own experiences of disputes over wills, what they think the main barriers to making a will are, and whether the rule that marriage revokes a will should be kept or abolished.
How to respond to the consultation
The consultation closes on 10th November 2017.
Need advice on making a will? We can help you
Making a will is one of the most important decisions you’ll make to ensure peace of mind for you and protect your loved ones in the future.
Please call Stephen Walker on 01482 324252.
You can find out more about how we can help you here:
- What happens to your digital assets after your death?
- The DIY executor: why ignorance of the law is no defence
- What happens if you die without a will?