Law governing Wills reviewed in Government consultation

26th September 2017

Is it time to update a 19th century law for a 21st century world?, asks Furley Page

Reviewing legislation relating to Wills may help encourage the 40% of people without one to take action, according to leading Kent law firm Furley Page.

The Government has launched a consultation to assess how it could update existing legislation surrounding Wills to reflect changes in society since the Wills Act was passed in 1837.

Key topics being explored include how digital Wills could be introduced, changing the test for who is capable of making a Will, and whether there are any benefits to reducing the age of being able to make a Will from 18 to 16.

Around 40% of the population do not have a Will and with even more having an invalid Will, the Government is now exploring its options on how to make it easier for people to choose how to distribute their possessions when they die.

Furley Page Associate Joshua Williams has seen the unfortunate result of people dying without a Will or with an inappropriate one, which can cause added legal costs, as well as family disharmony at a particularly difficult time.

“The obvious driving factors for the consultation are the gigantic leaps that society has taken in technology and medical understanding since the rules were first laid down in Victorian Britain. We have a 19th century law in a 21st century world, so perhaps a review is overdue,” says Joshua.

Concerns have been raised about how digital Wills could be kept secure and free of fraud, but Joshua welcomes the Government’s decision to carry out the wide-ranging review.

Joshua adds: “Simple mistakes can prove costly due to some of the rules surrounding Will interpretation. It’s critical you should have a valid Will in place and you should take proper advice during the process to ensure it meets your individual requirements.”

The consultation ends on November 10. Take part by visiting www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/wills

For advice on Wills, contact Joshua on 01227 763939,274241 email jclw@furleypage.co.uk

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