Why electronic Wills are not the way forward

Laws on Wills need an overhaul so they can be written electronically and by people as young as 16, according to a consultation document published today by the Law Commission.

While I generally welcome proposals to modernise the law and make it more accessible, I do not believe electronic Wills are the way forward.

People should take legal advice before drafting a Will so their individual needs and wants can be accounted for in the Will and appropriate advice given.

An estimated 40 per cent of adults die each year without making a Will. I believe this is because they are not being made aware that a Will is not something we should associate with death but more so with life planning.

While technology can speed up the process and make legal services more accessible and cost-effective, independent legal advice is still important. There are a number of unanswered questions regarding electronic Wills.
Would there be an electronic signature too? How would witnesses sign?

The commission is also consulting on reforms including lowered the age for making a Will from 18 to 16 and a new mental capacity test to take into account the modern understanding of conditions like dementia. Personally, I believe 16 is too young to make a Will – you cannot own property until 18 so I don’t believe it will work. The new mental capacity test is a welcome suggestion however.

Kristel Clarke