The outdated law of wills needs an overhaul according to the Law Commission.
The Law Commission says that an estimated 40 per cent of adults die intestate each year and it is thought that the laws could be discouraging people from making a will. As a result, the Law Commission is consulting on proposals to soften the strict formality rules, a new mental capacity test which takes into account the modern understanding of conditions like dementia, and a suggestion that the age for making a will should be lowered from 18 to 16.
The Commission also wants to pave the way for the introduction of electronic wills, to better reflect the modern world.
Rosemary Milns, trusts, wills and probate lawyer at Hunters Solicitors, commented:
“The law on making a will does need updating, but we need to make sure that we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
“Making a will is a serious matter and certain safeguards need to be built in to protect the vulnerable from the unscrupulous. Even under the present law there are too many incidents of undue influence or fraud. Recording how we want our worldly goods to be dealt with has to be done in a secure way so that the scope for unauthorised amendment or indeed accidental deletion is reduced to an absolute minimum.”
Read the full article in the Financial Times and Family Law Week.