The Law Commission publishes Making a Will: A Supplementary Consultation Paper

In an announcement today, The Law Commission has published Making a Will: A Supplementary Consultation Paper, in doing so has restarted the Wills Project which opened in 2016, before being paused in 2019 to focus on other areas.

The Law Commission has stated that:

Following on from our 2017 Consultation Paper, this Supplementary Consultation Paper is a re-consultation on two discrete issues: electronic wills and the rule that a marriage or civil partnership revokes an existing will. Developments since 2017 have caused us to re-examine these issues. We suspect that consultees’ views on these issues may also have shifted.

The project is focussed on areas The Law Commission has been told are in need of reform, and so are considering the following issues:

  • The formal and substantial validity of a will, including:
    • testamentary capacity;
    • the formalities for a valid will (currently governed by section 9 of the Wills Act 1837), including an examination of the issue of a will being made electronically;
    • the interpretation and rectification of a will;
    • the possibility of a power to dispense with the formalities otherwise necessary for a will to be valid;
    • the age at which a will can validly be made; and
    • knowledge and approval and undue influence in the testamentary context.
  • Statutory wills.
  • Mutual wills.
  • Ademption of testamentary gifts (where the property no longer exists or has changed in substance) and revocation of wills.
  • The registration of wills.
  • Donationes mortis causa.
  • The comparative and international context of the law of wills.
  • Other areas of the law of wills as set out in the Wills Act 1837.

The consultation paper does not re-examine any of the other issues that were considered in the 2017 consultation paper.

The consultation period will last until the 5th of December 2023, after which written responses will be analysed to form their final recommendations for reform on these two topics.

Written responses can be sent using their online response form (their preference) or by email to [email protected] or by post to Wills Team, Law Commission, 1st Floor, 52 Queen Anne’s Gate, London, SW1H 9AG.

The Society of Will Writers will put together its own response to the supplementary consultation paper, just as it did to the original project when responses were open previously. Members are encouraged to read the consultation paper and either provide their own responses, or, if preferred may provide their responses directly to the Society by email to [email protected].

For full details on the project, please click here.

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About The Society of Will Writers

The Society of Will Writers is a non-profit making self-regulatory organisation whose primary objectives are the advancement, education and ethical standards within the will writing profession.

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