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Are UK Will Laws Set To Change?

October 26th, 2017

The UK’s laws surrounding wills were introduced during the Victorian era and are very rigid. A will must be in writing, and be signed by not only the person whose will it is, but also by two witnesses.

An article in Spears has recently suggested that the UK’s laws relating to wills and probate need to be updated to fit in with the modern digital age, and to make it easier for people to make a will.

Figures show that 40 per cent of the country’s adult population do not have a will in place, which could in part be due to the process of making a will in the first place.

The Law Commission is currently undertaking a consultation on the subject of wills in the UK and looking at how to reform the system to make it more flexible. Although the consultation is not due to close until November, some of its recommendations have already been released.

Among them is to allow wills that don’t meet the current legal requirements to stand in their place. For instance things like emails, voicemail messages and other notes “ could be used in place of a written will where, ‘on the balance of probabilities’, the records were deemed an accurate summary of a person’s wishes,” the article explained.

There has already been an example of this kind of more flexible approach to wills over in Australia, where a court ruled that an unsent text message could be used as a will. The man wrote the text before taking his own life, but it was never sent, the BBC reported.

The judge in this case agreed that it could be used as the man’s will because it represented his intentions, even if it was in an informal way.

It is likely to take time until the rules in the UK change though, so until then if you don’t already have a will in place, it could be advisable to make an appointment with a will solicitor to ensure your affairs are taken care of.

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