Law Commission resumes will reform project, targeting draft Wills Bill 2025 by next year

The Law Commission are aiming to publish their final report on will reform and to instruct Parliamentary Counsel to draft a bill that would give effect to their recommendations early next year. 

The Law Commission first consulted on reforming the law of wills in 2017. The project was then paused between 2019 and 2022. They published a Supplementary Consultation Paper, on 5th October 2023 on two topics: possible reforms to enable electronic wills and to the rule that a marriage or civil partnership revokes a will.

The supplementary consultation period closed on 8th December 2023. They are now analysing responses to the supplementary consultation and developing their final recommendations for reform on all the topics within their review.

Developments since the time of the Consultation Paper caused us to re-examine these issues. They wondered whether consultees’ views on these issues had also shifted. At the time of the Consultation Paper in 2017, the case for allowing wills to be made and stored in electronic form was relatively novel. This might no longer hold true. Since then, there has been increasing recognition of the use of digital documents and signatures in other contexts, as well as huge developments in technology. The COVID-19 pandemic also took place, during which technology facilitated will-making.

In the 2017 Consultation Paper, they considered the need for protection of vulnerable testators in relation to the rule that a marriage or civil partnership revokes a will. However, concerns about “predatory marriages” have grown since then. These concerns might cast doubts on whether a marriage or civil partnership should continue to revoke a will.

The Supplementary Consultation Paper did not re-examine any of the other issues we considered in the 2017 Consultation Paper. The Law Commission were unaware of other developments, in the past six years, which would alter consultees’ views on the other issues they are considering within this project.

They are now analysing the responses to the supplementary consultation, which will inform the development of our final recommendations for reform on these two topics.

One Response

  1. The report is well overdue and can’t come soon enough .. it’s a time for change, whilst protecting those most vulnerable the route needs to be digital, clients expect and want it delivered in this way.
    #Wills #Trusts #Inheritance #Digitalisation

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