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The Law Society has stated that it supports the Law Commission’s proposal that Courts should be able to recognise people’s final wishes, even where there is not a traditionally valid Will.
In the consultation, which concluded on 10th November 2017, the Commission were to consider whether the Courts should have the power to dispense of the formalities of a Will if the will-maker has made their intentions clear. This could include their final wishes having been sent via an audio recording or an electric message, such as a text or email. Presently, for a Will to be valid, it must be in writing, by a person aged over 18 of sound mind and in the presence of two independent witnesses.
Joe Egan, the President of the Law Society, said: “When 40% of people die without making a will we know there is more we can do to make the process accessible to the public. The lack of a formal will should not restrict a court from respecting someone’s final wishes when those can be proven - with appropriate safeguards against fraud.”
As part of the Consultation, the Law Commission were also to consider proposals such as lowering the legal age to make a will to 16 and updating the laws governing testamentary capacity so that they are in line with the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The Law Society support these proposals stating that they would “bring clarity to courts and protect the rights of the most vulnerable people”.
The Law Society’s support of the consultation will be noted, whether or not the Government will take notice remains to be seen…. we will keep you informed of the eagerly-awaited results of the consultation!
At Ramsdens, we offer a specialist and affordable will writing service. To speak to someone about updating your Will or making a Will for the first time call us on 01484 821 500, text LAW to 67777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .