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Modernising wills? Surely not.......

The skills needed to draft a will are a dark art practiced by individuals who have studied the law for decades, but is all that about to change?

The Law Commission closed its consultation period in relation to modernising wills on 10 November 2017.

For those of you who don't know a will has to be in writing, signed by the persona making the will and witnessed by two witnesses who are in the presence of the maker of the will when he or she signed. It is not just about the signing however, you need to have capacity to understand what you are doing too.

The legal test for whether you can make a will or not has been in existence since 1870. To have capacity to make a will you must understand what assets you have, understand the relationship with your family members and whether they should be recipients, understand what a will is and when it is effective and understand the consequences of your decisions if you make a will or do not make a will.

One of the proposals being discussed is to combine this test with the test laid down to determine capacity in the Mental Capacity of Act of 2005 to determine whether someone has capacity to make a will. In the legislation it must be determined whether there is something that affects your mental capability to understand information, weigh up information and communication decisions.

Capacity decisions about ability to make a will can be challenging and life changing so anything to help with these process must surely be an improvement.

It is not just the capacity test which is being considered Discussion is also taking place around the need to modernise what a will actually is. Do we need to have a formal will which is written and signed and witnessed or would a text message be sufficient? With many of us owning an i-pad and being used to signing and writing on screen will we see a situation where we can prepare and sign and electronic will?

As with everything in life change happens. As soon as we know any more about the modernisation of wills you will be the first to know!

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