Time for a change? Updating the law of wills
Law Commission recommends reducing age to write a will to 16
The Law Commission has recently recommended that the legal age to write a will should be reduced to 16.
The law on wills is archaic, dating back to 1837, and the Law Commission have advised that the law has not kept pace with the ageing population, changes in family life and digital assets. The proposal of reducing the age to 16 would bring this in line with the legal age of getting married, joining the army and making medical decisions. By comparison, the legal age for making a will in Scotland is 12.
The proposal has been somewhat steered by the case of a 14 year old girl suffering from terminal cancer who sought permission from the courts to be cryogenically frozen. The Law Commission’s view is that the girl could have appointed an executor in a will, who would have been responsible for disposing of her body and therefore avoided the need for court proceedings.
The Law Commission has also proposed that the standard required to make a will be reduced so that people can make a will by email or text message. Needless to say, this comes with a significant risk and those who are terminally ill may have access more readily to a tablet or a smartphone than a solicitor but this could also see those terminally ill put under duress by family members. This would remove the statutory requirement in place at present which includes not being pressured into making a will.
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