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Reform to Wills - Imminent Changes Afoot?


The process of making a valid Will is currently governed by the Wills Act 1837 – but a consultation may see these laws radically change. Chris Dickinson explains.

The Act provides, amongst other things, that a valid Will must be in writing and signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses, who must also sign in the presence of the person making the Will and of each other.

The Law Commission has been carrying out a consultation since July of this year on whether these laws are outdated and if changes should be made to the way Wills are made.

Some of the key issues being considered are changing the way solicitors assess mental capacity for someone to make a Will, altering the age required to make a Will from 18 to 16, and giving the courts greater flexibility to uphold wills that do not meet the necessary legal requirements. Digital Wills may also be considered in the future.

Whilst some solicitors support in principle the proposal to extend the Court’s discretion to uphold Wills that do not meet existing legal requirements, there is also concern about making changes to laws that are long established and widely understood.

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