Differing views on the future of the laws governing Wills

The implications of proposed changes to Will legislation continue to be the subject of considerable debate and conjecture in the legal profession.

Earlier this year, the Law Commission outlined a series of proposals which it argued would bring legislation rooted in the Victorian era into the 21st century.

Others have suggested that this would see a return to the pre-1837 position where the lack of formality was the source of much confusion.

Questions remain, however, as to whether what has been suggested – in particular the possibility that digital communications could be considered a valid record of an individual’s final wishes in certain circumstances – will increase instances of fraud and remove safeguards over capacity and undue influence.

The formal consultation process came to an end this month, with a flurry of legal professionals and organisations making submissions.

The Law Society has suggested that some of what is being proposed has merit and that with 40 per cent of the population dying without making a Will, there is a clear case for making the system more accessible to the public. Although Joe Egan, the Law Society’s current president, insisted that any reforms would need to have appropriate safeguards built in.

Some of those who have responded to the consultation argue that the system the Law Commission has sketched out does not address the issue of regulation, with concerns that the proposals could push the public into the hands of unqualified and unregulated providers.

Carter Lemon Camerons LLP Solicitors is a City law firm which provides Wills and probate services with a personal touch to its clients – that go beyond the simple drafting of documents. Unlike many City practices we are happy to act in smaller private legal matters, bringing the same care and consideration as we do to large commercial matters. If you require advice on making, defending or contesting Wills, please contact Neil Acheson-Gray or Ian West.