Ellie Holland, partner and probate and tax planning specialist at The Wilkes Partnership Solihull examines recent steps take by The Law Commission to simplify the will making process.
A Will is an important document and the formalities regarding its validity are largely unchanged since the 1800s.
The Law Commission has recently established a consultation to consider simplifying the formalities to create a Will.
There is no requirement in England and Wales for a Will to be prepared by a solicitor however, many chose to do so in order to take legal advice and ensure that the Will is correctly drafted.
There are suggestions that Wills could be made by text, speech messages or email, making the process more immediate and could allow more adults to create Wills and safeguard their wealth.
However, a simpler process risks your Will being intercepted or altered. On death it is essential for the Will to speak for itself so there needs to be no ambiguity about whether the Will was intentionally created.
A simpler process provides more scope for adults to be coerced into bad bargains risking further legal or tax bills.
Whilst a review to encourage more people to make a Will is welcomed to avoid people’s estates being distributed under the intestacy rules, which may not be appropriate for their circumstances, any such review needs to be properly considered in order to avoid the risk of opening the floodgates in respect of people challenging Wills at a later date.\
The Wilkes Partnership boasts one of the region’s leading Private Client teams. To speak to someone about preparing a Will contact Ellie Holland on [email protected] / 0121 733 8000.