Bringing Wills Into The 21st Century

Writing a Will is wrongly often thought of as something only older people need to worry about. But the Law Commission has called for the age at which one can write a Will to be lowered to 16, as part of a report into ways to update inheritance laws.

It pointed out that given 16-year olds can marry, join the army or live alone, they should be allowed to outline what they wish to happen with their assets when they pass away.

This is just one of a series of changes suggested by the Law Commission, which argued that many of the laws relevant to inheritance date back to Victorian times and are “out of step with the modern world”.

Another suggested change is the introduction of electronic Wills, arguing that the Lord Chancellor should be given the power to bring them into force. The Law Commission also called for the removal of some of the formality around Will writing, by giving the courts powers to recognise a Will in cases where some of the formality rules were not followed, but the deceased had made their intentions clear, as well as an overhaul of the rules protecting those making a Will from being unduly influenced by another person.

There will now be a public consultation on the proposals until November before any final decision on law reform are made.

Jim Emsley from E.L.M Legal Services said: “Writing a Will should be simple and straightforward, but the Law Commission is absolutely right that the law is outdated and may be a reason why so many people don’t bother to write one, as around 40% of adults die each year without having written a Will. That’s unacceptable, and measures which will make it easier and more inclusive are very welcome.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re 16 or 60, setting out exactly what you want to happen to your assets after you pass away is vitally important, and a Will is the only way to do that.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about writing a Will or updating their current one, they can call our team on 0800 019 4557 – we’d be happy to help.

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