Law Society backs alternative Wills

Law Society backs alternative Wills

Last week, the Law Society backed alternative Wills being considered by the Law Commission saying that the court should recognise people’s final wishes, even when the current legal requirements for making a Will are not met.

The proposals are to move away from the provisions of the Wills Act 1837 to a more modern approach of Will drafting, including being able to make a Will by email or text message as well as giving effect to someone’s wishes where the formality rules currently in place have not been adhered to.

The Law Society said their tentative view was that a dispensing power should be introduced to give effect to wishes that were not written in the traditional format of being signed, witnessed and dated but it should include electronic and audio format as well. It is not clear how Will writing would be safeguarded by introducing this as an acceptable format as it could be open to fraud, undue pressure and influence.

The president of the Law Society said that 40% of people die without making a Will, a move in this direction would allow the process of making a Will be to more accessible to the public but that appropriate safeguards would need to be put in place.

The Law Commission’s consultation into Will reform closed on Friday and will be assessed by the Government in due course.