What changes were made to the Law of Wills a few years ago and how they may affect you?

What changes were made to the Law of Wills a few years ago and how they may affect you?

The Law Commission issued a four-month public consultation on 13 July 2017, on making improvements to the current law of wills that have been in effect since 1837. There were improvements or changes suggested to the test of an individual’s capacity for making a will. It was actually set out back in 1870.

The Law Commission By the way of stating that the law of wills is required to be changed in order to take into consideration any of the changes that take place in society, technology, and medical understanding since the Victorian era, the Law Commission simply wanted to imply that the current law being followed is outdated and uncertain. The lawyers, or will making or will writing solicitors, and Will and probate lawyer in London will definitely understand how important this is.

The law that governed the Wills in England and Wales has been obtained from the Wills Act 1837. Most parts of this law have remained unchanged since the time they were made the part of the law back in 1837. The law that was set back in 1837 describes that only a person of over 18 years of age (there have been a few exceptions here), must have the required mental capacity in order to make a Will.

In this blog, we have summarised the changes that were proposed to the law of Wills that were designed in a way that they encourage more and more people to create a will and their implication with Will and Probate Solicitors, Lawyers, will making solicitors and their clients.

  • A will is only considered valid if:
  • It is in writing and duly signed by the testator himself;
  • It must be evident that the testator had all the intentions of signing in order to give effect to the Will;
  • The Will is signed by the testator in the presence of two or more witnesses who need to be present at the same time;
  • Each witness signs the Will.
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Considering the developments and changes in society and among families, the maturing population, and the subsequent increase in incidents of dementia, the Law Commission issued the following proposal

  • There will be a system for assisted will making in place for those who have support from an independent mental capacity advocate would be fit to make a Will;
  • The court holds the power to allot with Will formalities in order to be sure of the testator’s intentions being given effect. Video or electronic records of the testator’s intentions shall be considered here;
  • The power to approve electronically created Wills to be recognised as valid;
  • Bring down the minimum age to make a Will from 18 to 16.

There have been reports suggesting that almost 40% of the population do not have a will. This becomes a really important issue because in the absence of a Will the inheritance of a person’s property and belongings are decided according to the Intestacy Rules. These rules might lead to the distribution of property contradicting to what the deceased might have thought of.

With this, the objective of the Law Commission is to provide recommendations for a more modern, evolved, and improved law that supports testamentary freedom, makes sure the testators are protected, and there are enough clarity and legal certainty about the matters. The Law is not changed in order to benefit just the system and Will and Probate Solicitors or Will Writing services, but for their clients and for their greater good. 

The changes or improvements to the Law of Wills do not suggest that the clients will have to rush to their Will and Probate solicitors or will making solicitors take any immediate action on their will. But it is suggested to review your current will just to make sure that what you have asked the will writing solicitors to put in place perfectly represents their wishes and takes care of any issues that might arise on their deaths.

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Change to the Probate Fees

After the changes in the law of wills, there have also been changes to the probate fees in 2019. The changes were pushed forward by the Government in April 2019. The applications were charged a fixed processing fee since 1999. According to the new rules, the processing fees rise with the size of the estate. These are important changes that might be really helpful to know for will writing services, will making solicitors, and their clients.

These changes in the probate fees had received criticism from many professionals in the industry. But there was a small number of professionals that did believe that the step is encouraging in a way that might benefit a lot of low-income families. They will now probably be more likely to access legal service as a result of this change.

The Ministry of Justice also mentioned that the fees and the extra money received in this process after the changes to the processing feed for the probate will be used for making improvements to the services of the court and making it better for everyone, the people who work there and the people who come there to get their issues solved.

The probate fees are required to be paid from the estate at the time of the application. The executors will have several options as to how this will be arranged. Your Will and Probate Solicitors or Will Writing Services can provide you with more detailed information regarding the fees and their processing.

Wrap up

The changes in the Law of Wills and Probate and the changes to the processing fees of Probate are really important for everyone to be informed about. All the Will and Probate Solicitors and Will Making Solicitors are informed about each of these minute changes and updates in the law. For more details regarding how these changes can affect you, you should get in touch with Will and Probate Solicitors and people who provide will writing services as they might be the best people to guide you through this.

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Author Bio:

At Pindoria Solicitors in the UK, Bharat Pindoria is the department head with a far-sighted vision and an open-minded approach. His unwavering efforts and high expertise and experience in law have lead him to the steadfast progress of the law firm. Apart from this, he has a keen interest in contributing his knowledge with writing blogs related to the industry.