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The Law Commission considering lowering the age to make a will

View profile for Emma Harper
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The Law Commission is starting to look at wills and how they can be brought up to date to suit a modern lifestyle. 

Currently there is a degree of formality when making a will. You must be over 18, have the necessary capacity and understanding, and your signature must be witnessed by two people, present at the same time as you.

We live in an increasingly digital world and some of the proposals include the possibility of people making their wishes known electronically, such as via email, and lowering the age that you can make a will from 18 to 16. 

An individual is still treated as a minor until the age of 18, and of course cannot vote but possibly the Law Commission is recognising the entrepreneurial skills of the younger generation and the wealth that they seem to be able to generate.

Due to the sensitive nature of a will, any changes will have to be stringently monitored to prevent abuse and fraud. It is estimated that almost 60% of us do not have a will and it will be interesting to see whether the proposed changes actually make the process easier, or produce more red tape.

One of our wills and probate experts, Claire Read, spoke to BBC Essex last week, agreeing with the Law Commission spokesperson that the Victorian laws surrounding making a will are outdated. You can read more on this subject in these blogs The Law Commission - possible reforms to making a will and The law around wills needs updating!

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am based at our Colchester Office and can be reached on 01206 217387 or email emma.harper@birkettlong.co.uk

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