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The law around wills needs updating!

View profile for Jennie Skingsley
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The Law Commission for England and Wales has today called for updates to the law around wills, claiming it should be brought into the ‘modern world’.

One of our wills and probate experts, Claire Read, spoke to BBC Essex on Thursday morning, agreeing with the Law Commission spokesperson that the Victorian laws surrounding making a will are outdated. In the modern age, when society and culture are so different and in particular communication methods are rapidly developing, it should be easier to make a will and ensure your wishes are left clearly for your loved ones.

The Law Commission highlighted that the test for mental capacity, or testamentary capacity, is based on what we knew in Victorian times and doesn’t take into account modern research into dementia and other illnesses that affect people in later life.

If she had the chance to change the laws herself, Claire said she would like the rules around undue influence amended. Claire said: “There can be are enormous problems when trying to prove someone has been pressurised into writing something (or someone!) into their will. It can be very hard to challenge.”

Moving the process online may not be the answer however, as it can be even harder to prove that fraud or undue pressure has been applied. Digital documents could be much easier to abuse in that respect.

Claire was asked whether the broader issue was perhaps people being scared of solicitors, and more specifically, scared about the potential cost. At Birkett Long, we like to base all of our work upon the building of relationships – this helps people to feel at ease when talking to their lawyer, and helps us do the best job we can for you. It doesn’t have to be expensive either – we usually offer a fixed fee when making a will, so you know exactly what it’s going to cost from the outset.

Our solicitors are ordinary people who want to help you achieve your aims in the most effective way possible, whether that’s writing a will, sorting out a lasting power of attorney, or helping you through the legal process when a loved one has died.  Claire Read is based at our Chelmsford office and can be contacted on 01245  453835 or email